As the Chief of Air Force, I have legislated responsibility to administer the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC). The AAFC will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2016 having been established as the Australian Air Training Corps (ATC) in June 1941 as a source of air minded RAAF recruits for both aircrews and ground staffs. Whilst the AAFC staff and cadets are not members of the Air Force, as an aviation focussed youth development organisation, the AAFC has been representative of the RAAF since its inception. The AAFC observes the proud traditions and reflects the rich heritage of the RAAF in the community. Indeed, with over 170 units and over 7500 members throughout the country, in many regions the AAFC is the public face of the Air Force.
Many AAFC cadets still choose to join the Services. AAFC cadets have consistently made up 30% of the Air Force ADFA intake with the result that almost 50% of the senior leadership of the Air Force are ex cadets. In light of the enduring contribution of the AAFC we have commenced a programme to expand the opportunity for cadets to experience flying and aviation activities. Our acquisition of gliders and the establishment of the AAFC aviation centre at Bathurst this year are the beginning of this strategy along with the appointment of Director General Cadets Air Force as the Operational Airworthiness Authority Representative (OAAR) for the AAFC to act as the representative of the Air Commander Australia for the operational airworthiness management of powered and glider flying.
I am pleased to announce that Mr Greg Williamson has been appointed as Commander of the AAFC in the rank of GPCAPT (AAFC) as the result of an extensive publicly advertised selection process. GPCAPT (AAFC) Williamson assumes the appointment following the successful five year tenure of GPCAPT (AAFC) Ken Given.
GPCAPT (AAFC) Williamson has had a long association with the AAFC since joining as a cadet and completing a flying scholarship before going on to become an Officer of Cadets. Greg is a state manager of a Queensland firm and brings years of experience as a senior business executive as well as community involvement including a term as mayor of the city of Mackay. Greg started his flying with the AAFC and still maintains his pilot’s licence. His aviation interests have included a period as President of the Mackay Aero club and as one of the founding board members of the Mackay Tiger Moth Trust Museum.
In welcoming the new Commander, I would also like to extend my appreciation to GPCAPT (AAFC) Given for his total commitment to the AAFC and for the significant outcomes achieved during his time as Commander. GPCAPT (AAFC) Given has been awarded a CDF Commendation in recognition of his achievements during his tenure as Commander.
I wish GPCAPT (AAFC) Williamson every success during his appointment in command and look forward to working with him to further the advancement of aviation in the AAFC.
Chief of Air Force