New RAAF DCAF, ACAUST take up appointments

AVM Roberton (left) and AVM Turnbull (right) at the Air Commander Australia Transfer of Authority ceremony on May 9. (Defence)

Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull has been appointed Deputy Chief of Air Force (DCAF) following Air Vice-Marshal Warren McDonald’s posting to the newly-created position of Chief of Joint Capabilities.

AVM McDonald served as DCAF for two years, while AVM Turnbull comes into the role – his appointment took effect from May 1 – after two years as Air Commander Australia (ACAUST).

“It’s been a privilege to serve in AFHQ (Air Force Headquarters) as DCAF and be a part of the excitement of the organisation’s future,” AVM McDonald told Air Force News.

The new DCAF’s Air Force career has seen him fly UH-1H Iroquois helicopters and then the F/A-18 Hornet. He has been commanding officer 77 Squadron, officer commanding 81 Wing, served a tour as Director, US Central Command 609th Combined Air Operations Centre, and held the positions of Director General Air Command Operations (Headquarters Air Command) and Director General Air (Headquarters Joint Operations Command).

“To move from a large command role to an AFHQ governance role and having a say in the future of Air Force in conjunction with CAF is exciting,” AVM Turnbull said.

“Without a doubt the highlights of my time as ACAUST were interacting with the people and watching Air Command raise, train and sustain in a professional manner.

“As an organisation, they take everything into their stride. It was memorable to visit our air bases 19 times and last year I visited every base except the two bare bases. The toys are great, the new toys are exciting, but the people are what make Air Force a capability.”

AVM Turnbull’s replacement as ACAUST is the newly-promoted Air Vice-Marshal Steve ‘Zed’ Roberton, the previous Commander Air Combat Group.

AVM Roberton’s career achievements include commanding officer 75 Squadron, head of the Air Combat Transition Office which introduced the F/A-18F Super Hornet into RAAF service, and the commander of the inaugural RAAF Air Task Group deployment to the Middle East under Operation Okra.

Air Commodore Michael Kitcher is the incoming Commander Air Combat Group.