Russell La Forte

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Russell La Forte
Russell La Forte presents LSGC medal (cropped).jpg
Born1960 (age 61–62)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Air Force (1978–2015)
Royal Air Force Reserve (2015–present)
Years of service1978–present
RankAir Commodore
UnitRAF Regiment
Commands heldBritish Forces South Atlantic Islands (2013–15)
RAF Regiment (2010–12)
RAF Honington (2007–08)
Battles/warsThe Troubles
Operation Southern Watch
Sierra Leone Civil War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
AwardsCommander of the Order of the British Empire

Air Commodore Russell William "Russ" La Forte, CBE (born 1960) is a senior Royal Air Force officer. He served as Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment from 2010 to 2012, and Commander of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands from 2013 to 2015. Since November 2015, he has been Director of RAF Sport.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1960 to Edward La Forte, he was educated at Manor Primary School, Didcot, and Wallingford Grammar School, Wallingford, Berkshire. He was a member of the Air Training Corps as a teenager.[1]

La Forte joined the military after leaving school, rather than attend university. In later life, he studied history through the Open University, a distance learning institution. He graduated in 1994 with a First Class Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. He graduated from King's College London in 2001 with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in defence studies.[2]

Military career[edit]

In 1978, La Forte joined the RAF Regiment as a gunner.[3] He served tours in West Germany and in Northern Ireland during The Troubles.[2]

On 20 May 1982, the then senior aircraftman La Forte was commissioned into the Security Branch of the Royal Air Force as a pilot officer with seniority from 25 September 1980.[4] He was promoted to flight lieutenant on 25 September 1986.[5] As part of the half-yearly promotions, he was promoted to squadron leader on 1 July 1991.[6] He deployed to Northern Iraq in 1993–94 as part of Operation Southern Watch[2]

A wing commander from 1 January 1999,[7] he was promoted to group captain on 1 January 2004 and was appointed Aide de Camp (ADC) to Queen Elizabeth II on 1 November 2007.[8][9] From 2007 to 2008, he served as Station Commander of RAF Honington.[10]

In 2009, La Forte attended the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. He then served as Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment from February 2010 to January 2012.[11] In December 2011, he was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff Training, HQ No. 22 Group.[3] In March 2013, he was appointed Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands.[12][13] He was succeeded in that role by Commodore Darren Bone in April 2015.[14]

On 10 October 2015, La Forte transferred to the Royal Air Force Reserve in the rank of air commodore.[15] In November 2015, he was appointed Director of RAF Sport and he is based at RAF Halton.[16][17] He is also the President of the RAF Mountaineering Association.[18]


In the 1995 New Year Honours, La Forte was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE),[19] in recognition of his service in Northern Ireland the previous year.[2] He was appointed Aide de Camp (ADC) to Queen Elizabeth II on 1 November 2007.[9] He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours.[20][21]


  1. ^ Allen, Emily (18 December 2007). "Airman to serve the Queen". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "AIR COMMODORE R W LA FORTE C BE MA BA RAF" (PDF). Media. Royal British Legion. 9 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b "RAF HONINGTON NAMES A NEW ROAD AFTER ITS OUTGOING COMMANDANT GENERAL". RAF Honington. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  4. ^ "No. 49028". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 June 1982. p. 8228.
  5. ^ "No. 50696". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 October 1986. p. 13878.
  6. ^ "No. 52591". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 July 1991. pp. 10091–10093.
  7. ^ "No. 55365". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 January 1999. pp. 59–60.
  8. ^ "No. 57168". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 January 2004. p. 128.
  9. ^ a b "No. 58509". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 November 2007. p. 16428.
  10. ^ "New Station Commander at RAF Honington". 24 February 2009. RAF Honington. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  11. ^ "SENIOR ROYAL AIR FORCE APPOINTMENTS" (PDF). Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Trading places" (PDF). Royal Air Force News. 26 April 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Falklands and South Atlantic Islands have a new defense commander". Merco Press. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  15. ^ "No. 61469". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 January 2016. p. 459.
  16. ^ "Appointment of New RAF Sports Director". RAF Regiment Association. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Russell La Forte". LinkedIn. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  18. ^[bare URL PDF]
  19. ^ "No. 53893". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1994. pp. 7–8.
  20. ^ "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 6.
  21. ^ "Queen's birthday honours list: Military". The Guardian. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
Military offices
Preceded by Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment
Succeeded by