David Walker (RAF aircrew officer)


Air Marshal David Walker, CB, CBE, AFC (30 October 1956 – 18 June 2023) was a senior Royal Air Force officer. He was the Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command at Brunssum in the Netherlands from 2011 to 2013, having previously served for over three years as Deputy Commander, Allied Air Component Command at Ramstein in Germany. Prior to that appointment he was Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group in the United Kingdom.

David Walker
Born(1956-10-30)30 October 1956
Died18 June 2023(2023-06-18) (aged 66)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Air Force
Years of service1978–2013
RankAir Marshal
Commands heldNo. 1 Group
RAF Cottesmore
No. 1 Squadron
Battles/warsOperation Veritas
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Air Force Cross

Early life and education Edit

Walker was born on 30 October 1956 in Hertfordshire, England. He was educated at Hatfield Technical Grammar School, a state school in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. He studied geography at the University of Bristol, graduating with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree.[1]

He later took a Master of Arts (MA) degree in defence studies at King's College London, and undertook a Portal Fellowship for a Doctor of Philosophy with King's College London at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell.[citation needed]

RAF career Edit

Having joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) on the university graduate scheme,[1] Walker was commissioned as an acting pilot officer on 1 August 1975,[2] He was regraded as a pilot officer on graduation in 1978.[3] He was promoted to flying officer and flight lieutenant the following year.[4][5] He completed flying tours in Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom, flying the Harrier and F/A-18 Hornet,[6] He was promoted to squadron leader in 1987.[7] He was awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC) in the 1988 New Year Honours.[8] Promoted to wing commander in 1993,[9] Walker went on to command No. 1 Squadron, flying operational missions over Iraq and Bosnia, before becoming Military Assistant to the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, serving the Honourable Nicholas Soames and then Dr John Reid.[6]

Walker was promoted to group captain in 1997,[10] and attended the Higher Command and Staff Course in 1999, before taking command of RAF Cottesmore and the UK Harrier Force.[6] In 2001 he was posted to HQ No. 3 Group, spending most of that tour deployed overseas supporting operations in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom;[6] he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2002 New Year Honours.[11] Promoted to air commodore in 2002,[12] he took up the post of Assistant Chief of Staff J3 (Operations) in the Permanent Joint Headquarters,[13] with responsibility for the management of all United Kingdom expeditionary operations, but with his main focus being Operation Telic, the United Kingdom's contribution to the Iraq War.[6]

Promoted to air vice marshal and appointed Assistant Chief of the Air Staff in October 2003,[14][15] Walker became responsible for the detailed handling of overall RAF policy, relations with NATO and other allies and the change agenda, being closely involved in the Eurofighter Typhoon programme.[6] In April 2005 Walker took command of No. 1 Group,[16] with responsibility for the RAF's fast jet forces. In April 2006 he also assumed responsibility for the RAF Support Helicopter Force contribution to the UK Joint Helicopter Command.[6]

In June 2007 Walker was promoted to air marshal[17] and appointed Deputy Commander, Allied Air Component Command at Ramstein.[18] In July 2010 he was appointed to co-lead the Joint US/NATO Ballistic Missile Defence Task Force, to develop Operational Concepts. Walker was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2011 New Year Honours,[19] and in March of that year he became Deputy Commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum.[20]

Later life and death Edit

In 2015, Walker became National President of the Royal British Legion.[1][21] He also served as a commissioner of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.[21]

Walker died of brain cancer on 18 June 2023, at the age of 66.[22][23]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c "Air Marshal David Walker, Harrier pilot with strategic vision who saw action in Bosnia and Iraq – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 25 June 2023. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  2. ^ "No. 46721". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 October 1975. p. 13544.
  3. ^ "No. 47632". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 September 1978. p. 10619.
  4. ^ "No. 47752". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 January 1979. p. 991.
  5. ^ "No. 48001". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 November 1979. p. 14243.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Air Marshal David Walker". www.jfcbs.nato.int. Joint Force Command Brunssum. Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  7. ^ "No. 50986". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 July 1987. p. 8662.
  8. ^ "No. 51171". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1987. p. 24.
  9. ^ "No. 53363". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 July 1993. p. 11374.
  10. ^ "No. 54820". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 June 1997. p. 7559.
  11. ^ "No. 56430". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2001. pp. 4–6.
  12. ^ "No. 56446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 January 2002. p. 179.
  13. ^ gulabin.com Tri-Service Appointments p21 (Mar 2012) retrieved 2 Apr 2012
  14. ^ "No. 57076". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 October 2003. p. 12359.
  15. ^ gulabin.com RAF Appointments p10 (Mar 2012) retrieved 2 Apr 2012
  16. ^ gulabin.com RAF Appointments p83 (Mar 2012) retrieved 2 Apr 2012
  17. ^ "No. 58387". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 July 2007. p. 9907.
  18. ^ RAF Air Rank Appointments List 04/07 of 2 May 2007 retrieved 17 Jun 2011
  19. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 2.
  20. ^ RAF Air Rank Appointments List 09/10 of 17 Nov 2010 retrieved 17 Jun 2011
  21. ^ a b "Our Commissioners: COMMISSIONER AIR MARSHAL DAVID WALKER CB CBE AFC". CWGC. Archived from the original on 26 June 2023. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  22. ^ "Births, marriages and deaths: June 22, 2023". The Times. 26 June 2023. Retrieved 26 June 2023. WALKER Air Marshal (Retd) Dr David CB CBE AFC PhD, died peacefully at home on 18th June 2023, aged 66, after challenging cancer with characteristic courage and great dignity. Adored and devoted husband of Catherine. Beloved and loving Dad of Charles, William and Fred, proud Grandad, much-loved brother and nephew. Valued friend and inspiration to many. David will be missed immeasurably. There will be a private family funeral. details of a service to give thanks for David's exceptional life and contribution will be announced in due course.
  23. ^ "Air Marshal David Walker obituary". The Times. 20 July 2023. Retrieved 20 July 2023.
Military offices
Preceded by Chief of Staff Operations (J3), Permanent Joint Headquarters
Succeeded by
Preceded by Assistant Chief of the Air Staff
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Chris Moran
Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group
Succeeded by
Preceded by
H Martin (Germany)
Deputy Commander, Allied Air Component Command, Ramstein
Succeeded by
F W Ploeger (Germany)
Preceded by
Chris Harper
Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command, Brunssum
Succeeded by