Newly-promoted Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull has been appointed Air Commander Australia (ACAUST), replacing Air Vice-Marshal Mel Hupfeld, who in turn has been appointed Head Capability Systems in the Defence Department’s Capability Development Group.
“Personnel from Headquarters Air Command have had a critical role in planning large scale exercises to maintain readiness for joint operations, including the recent success of Exercise Pitch Black in the Northern Territory. It was inspiring to meet them and learn more about their work,” Assistant Minister for Defence, Stuart Robert, said during a visit to RAAF Base Glenbrook on Thursday, a day before the formal ACAUST change of command ceremony.
“It was also a particularly special visit as it provided me with the unique opportunity to meet with both the outgoing and incoming Air Commander Australia at the same time. During his time as Air Commander Australia, Air Vice-Marshal Mel Hupfeld DSC has delivered significant operational capability and I look forward to Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull achieving the same success.”
AVM Turnbull’s RAAF career has seen him fly UH-1H Iroquois helicopters and then the F/A-18 Hornet. He has been commanding officer 77SQN, officer commanding No. 81 Wing, served a tour as Director, US Central Command 609th Combined Air Operations Centre, and most recently has held appointments as Director General Air Command Operations (Headquarters Air Command) and Director General Air (Headquarters Joint Operations Command).
At Capability Development Group AVM Hupfeld will replace Major General John Caligari, who has been promoted to Chief of Capability Development Group, with effect from next month.