Sir Stephen Hillier
Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
|Service/||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1980 –|
|Rank||Air Chief Marshal|
|Commands held||Chief of the Air Staff|
No. 2 Group
II (AC) Squadron
|Awards||Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath|
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal (United States)
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, KCB, CBE, DFC, ADC (born 1962) is a Scottish senior Royal Air Force officer, who serves as Chief of the Air Staff. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in the Gulf in 1999 and was awarded the US Bronze Star Medal for service in the Iraq War. He went on to be Air Officer Commanding, No. 2 Group, Director Information Superiority at the Ministry of Defence and then Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability). Hillier succeeded Air Chief Marshal Andrew Pulford as Chief of the Air Staff on 12 July 2016.
Early life and education
Hillier was born in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, the son of Victor and Ann Hillier, and grew up in nearby Bellfield. During the Second World War, his father was an aircraftman in the Royal Air Force, and was a wireless operator in a mobile signals unit in Burma and India. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy and as a youth earned a private pilot's licence through the Air Training Corps flying scholarship scheme.
Hillier was commissioned as an acting pilot officer on 6 November 1980, and regraded to pilot officer (after Initial Officer Training) on 6 November 1981. He was promoted to flying officer on 6 November 1982. He was a pilot – flying the Tornado aircraft – and served in the 1991 Gulf War. He was promoted to squadron leader on 1 July 1991 and wing commander on 1 July 1996, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions commanding II (AC) Squadron in the Gulf during Operation Southern Watch on 29 October 1999.
Promoted to group captain on 1 July 2000, Hillier became station commander at RAF Lossiemouth. He then served in the Iraq War, where he commanded the Tornado Detachment with aircraft supplied from No. 2, 12 and 617 Squadrons. For this, he was awarded the US Bronze Star Medal on 31 October 2003. He was also appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2005 New Year Honours, just prior to his promotion to air commodore on 1 January 2005 of that year.
Hillier served as Head of Theatre Airspace Capability in the Ministry of Defence prior to his promotion to air vice marshal and appointment as Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group in September 2008. In October 2010 he returned to the Ministry of Defence as Director Information Superiority and in June 2012 he was promoted to air marshal and appointed Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability). He managed the UK's Carrier Enabled Power Projection Programme, encompassing the aircraft carrier, F35B Lightning II and Merlin Helicopter programmes; his appointment has been criticised by former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West. Hillier became Air Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to Queen Elizabeth II and succeeded Air Chief Marshal Andrew Pulford as Chief of the Air Staff on 12 July 2016.
In 1984, Hillier married Elaine Margaret Burns in Kilmarnock. Sir Stephen and Lady Hillier have two adult children, Rebecca and Alexander.
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| Head of Theatre Airspace Capability, Ministry of Defence
to August 2008
S M Bell
| Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group
September 2008 – October 2010
C W Dixon
| Director Information Superiority, Ministry of Defence
October 2010 – October 2011
M C Green
| Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability)
June 2012 – January 2016
| Chief of the Air Staff
July 2016 –