Glenn Torpy

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Lester Torpy, GCB, CBE, DSO (born 27 July 1953) is a retired senior Royal Air Force commander. He was a fast jet pilot in the late 1970s and 1980s, saw active service during the Gulf War and then went on to higher command. He was the air component commander on Operation Telic (British operations in Iraq) and served as Chief of the Air Staff, the professional head of the RAF, from 2006 to 2009. In that role Torpy hosted the RAF's biggest air display in two decades, and argued for consolidation of all British air power in the hands of the RAF.

Sir Glenn Torpy
Sir Glen Torpy at the Global Air Chiefs Conference (crop)
Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy in September 2007
Born27 July 1953 (age 66)
Ely, Cambridgeshire
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Air Force
Years of service1974–2009
RankAir Chief Marshal
Commands heldChief of the Air Staff (2006–09)
Chief of Joint Operations (2004–06)
No. 1 Group (2001–03)
RAF Bruggen (1995–97)
No. 13 Squadron (1989–92)
Battles/warsGulf War
Iraq War
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Officer of the Legion of Merit (United States)

Early life

The son of Gordon Torpy and Susan Torpy (née Lindsey),[1] Torpy obtained a BSc degree in aeronautical engineering from Imperial College London.[2]

Military career

Torpy joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot officer on 8 September 1974,[3] and spent his early career, after he left the RAF College Cranwell, undertaking flying duties in Jaguar aircraft before qualifying as a weapons instructor on Hawk aircraft.[2] He was promoted to flying officer on 8 March 1975, with seniority backdated to 8 June 1973,[4] flight lieutenant on 8 December 1975,[5] and squadron leader on 1 July 1983.[6]

Tornado-JH01
Tornado, a type flown by Torpy in the 1980s

Torpy's early commands included a tour as a squadron leader in Tornado aircraft before being appointed Officer Commanding No. 13 Squadron in 1989.[1] Having been promoted to wing commander on 1 July 1989,[7] Torpy saw active service during the Gulf War with No. 13 Squadron and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Order.[8] He was made personal staff officer to the Air Officer Commanding RAF Strike Command in 1992.[1]

Promoted to group captain on 1 July 1993,[9] Torpy was appointed station commander at RAF Bruggen, Germany, in 1995.[10] After promotion to air commodore on 1 January 1997,[11] he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1997.[1] He was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff (Operations) at Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood in 1998 and director of air operations at the Ministry of Defence in 1999.[1] Torpy was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2000 New Year Honours[12] and became Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Operations) at the Ministry of Defence in 2000.[1]

From 2001 to 2003 Torpy was Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group,[13] and also served as the air component commander for Operation Telic (British operations in Iraq).[2] He was awarded the Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer) from the United States in "recognition of gallant and distinguished services during coalition operations in Iraq" in 2003.[14] He was promoted to air vice marshal on 1 January 2001,[15] and to air marshal on 18 July, 2003.[16]

From 2003 to 2004 Torpy was deputy commander-in-chief at RAF Strike Command.[1] On 26 July 2004, he was appointed chief of joint operations at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood.[17] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 2005 New Year Honours.[18]

With promotion to air chief marshal on 13 April 2006,[19] Torpy became Chief of the Air Staff and an air aide-de-camp to Her Majesty the Queen on 13 April 2006.[19] He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[20] In July 2008, Torpy hosted the RAF's biggest air display in two decades, as a 35-mile-long (56 km) procession of aircraft flew past the queen to commemorate the service's 90th anniversary.[21] Controversially, in June 2009, he argued for consolidation of all British air power in the hands of the RAF, effectively questioning the future of the Royal Navy's jet aircraft.[22]

Torpy retired from the RAF in July 2009, and became senior military advisor to BAE Systems.[23] He is also Chairman of the Trustees of the RAF Museum and a governor of Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School.[23]

Personal life

Torpy married Christine Jackson in 1977. His interests include golf, hill walking, military history and cabinet making.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  2. ^ a b c "Brief biographical details of the senior UK commanders involved in Operation Telic". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  3. ^ "No. 46440". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 December 1974. p. 13199.
  4. ^ "No. 46513". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 March 1975. p. 3291.
  5. ^ "No. 46757". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 December 1975. p. 15648.
  6. ^ "No. 49406". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 July 1983. p. 8833.
  7. ^ "No. 51799". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 July 1989. p. 7803.
  8. ^ "No. 52588". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 June 1991. p. 16.
  9. ^ "No. 53363". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 July 1993. p. 11374.
  10. ^ "RAF Station Commanders – 2 TAF, BAFO & RAF Germany". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  11. ^ "No. 54642". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 January 1997. p. 217.
  12. ^ "No. 55711". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1999. p. 42.
  13. ^ "Group No's 1 – 9". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Archived from the original on 13 June 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  14. ^ "No. 57100". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 October 2003. p. 12.
  15. ^ "No. 56078". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 January 2001. p. 14622.
  16. ^ "No. 57018". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 August 2003. p. 9733.
  17. ^ "Joint Defence Commands". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Archived from the original on 13 June 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  18. ^ "No. 57509". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2004. p. 2.
  19. ^ a b "No. 57965". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 April 2006. p. 5686.
  20. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 2.
  21. ^ "Queen watches biggest RAF display for two decades". The Telegraph. 11 July 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  22. ^ "RAF chief predicts controversial takeover of Royal Naval air power". The Telegraph. 7 June 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  23. ^ a b "Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy". Human Systems. Retrieved 20 May 2012.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
R.A. Wright
Station Commander RAF Bruggen
1995–1996
Succeeded by
Nigel Maddox
Preceded by
P.V. Harris
Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Chris Moran
Preceded by
Sir Brian Burridge
Deputy Commander-in-Chief Strike Command
2003–2004
Succeeded by
Sir Clive Loader
Preceded by
Sir John Reith
Chief of Joint Operations
2004–2006
Succeeded by
Nick Houghton
Preceded by
Sir Jock Stirrup
Chief of the Air Staff
2006–2009
Succeeded by
Sir Stephen Dalton
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Jock Stirrup
Honorary Colonel of 73 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers)
30 July 2008 – present
Incumbent
Air aide-de-camp

An air aide-de-camp is a senior honorary aide-de-camp appointment for air officers in the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Indian Air Force. Normally the recipient is appointed as an air aide-de-camp to the head of state. The British Army's equivalent appointment is aide-de-camp general.

Andrew Pulford

Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Douglas Pulford, (born 22 March 1958) is a retired senior Royal Air Force (RAF) commander. A helicopter pilot with operational service in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War and Iraq War, Pulford commanded RAF Odiham and No. 2 Group, and served as Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Operations, before taking up the post of Deputy Commander-in-Chief Personnel at Air Command and Air Member for Personnel in 2010. He became Chief of the Air Staff on 31 July 2013, retiring from the Royal Air Force on 12 July 2016.

Brian Burridge

Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Kevin Burridge, (born 1949) is a retired Royal Air Force officer. A former Nimrod pilot, Burridge was in overall command of British forces under Operation Telic during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Chief of the Air Staff's Warrant Officer

The Chief of the Air Staff's Warrant Officer (CASWO) is the senior warrant officer (WO), and therefore the most senior non-commissioned position in the Royal Air Force (RAF). The person holding this military appointment advises the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) on matters concerning airmen and airwomen of the RAF. The post was created in 1996.

Chief of the Air Staff (United Kingdom)

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is the professional head of the Royal Air Force and a member of both the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Air Force Board. The post was created in 1918 with Major General Sir Hugh Trenchard as the first incumbent. The current and 30th Chief of the Air Staff is Air Chief Marshal Michael Wigston, who succeeded Sir Stephen Hillier in July 2019.

Chris Moran

Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Hugh "Chris" Moran, (28 April 1956 – 26 May 2010) was a fast jet pilot and later a senior commander in the Royal Air Force. He was Commander-in-Chief of Air Command at the time of his unexpected death.

Hotel Cecil (London)

The Hotel Cecil was a grand hotel built 1890–96 between the Thames Embankment and the Strand in London, England. It was named after Cecil House (also known as Salisbury House), a mansion belonging to the Cecil family, which occupied the site in the 17th century. The hotel was largely demolished in 1930, and Shell Mex House now stands on its site.

Jock Stirrup

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Graham Eric Stirrup, Baron Stirrup, (born 4 December 1949), informally known as Jock Stirrup, is a former senior Royal Air Force commander who was the Chief of the Defence Staff from 2006 until his retirement in late 2010. He is now a Crossbench member of the House of Lords. In April 2013, he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Garter by Queen Elizabeth II.

As a junior RAF officer, Stirrup was a jet pilot, and saw action in the Dhofar War. Later in his career, he commanded No. 2 Squadron and RAF Marham. After several senior air force appointments, Stirrup was made the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Strike Command and during this time he served as the first commander of British forces engaged in fighting the Taliban. In 2002, Stirrup was appointed the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff responsible for equipment and capability and was heavily involved in procuring equipment for the invasion of Iraq. Spending a little over a year in that role, he was then appointed the Chief of the Air Staff, in which capacity he served from 2003 to 2006. He became Chief of the Defence Staff in 2006: during his time in office the British Armed Forces faced significant commitments both to Iraq (Operation Telic) and Afghanistan (Operation Herrick). Stirrup retired as Chief of the Defence Staff on 29 October 2010, taking a seat in the House of Lords in 2011.

John Reith (British Army officer)

General Sir John George Reith, (born 17 November 1948) is a retired senior British Army officer who was the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) from October 2004 to October 2007.

Keith Williamson

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Keith Alec Williamson, (25 February 1928 – 2 May 2018) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force. He served with the Royal Australian Air Force flying Meteors in a ground attack role during the Korean War. He was a squadron commander and then a station commander during the 1960s and a senior air commander in the 1980s. He was Chief of the Air Staff during the early 1980s at the time of the emergency airlift of food and supplies to Ethiopia ("Operation Bushel").

Michael Wigston

Air Chief Marshal Michael Wigston, (born 25 February 1968) is a senior Royal Air Force officer, serving as Chief of the Air Staff since 26 July 2019. He previously served as Assistant Chief of the Air Staff from 2017 to 2018, and Deputy Commander (Personnel) and Air Member for Personnel and Capability from 2018 to 2019.

Nigel Maddox

Air Vice Marshal Nigel David Alan Maddox, is a retired senior officer of the Royal Air Force. He is the Senior Military Adviser to the UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation.

Operation Telic

Operation Telic (Op TELIC) was the codename under which all of the United Kingdom's military operations in Iraq were conducted between the start of the Invasion of Iraq on 19 March 2003 and the withdrawal of the last remaining British forces on 22 May 2011. The bulk of the mission ended on 30 April 2009 but around 150 troops, mainly from the Royal Navy, remained in Iraq until 22 May 2011 as part of the Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission. 46,000 troops were deployed at the onset of the invasion and the total cost of war stood at £9.24 billion in 2010.

Permanent Joint Headquarters

The Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) is the British tri-service headquarters from where all overseas military operations are planned and controlled. It is situated at Northwood Headquarters in Northwood, London. The Permanent Joint Headquarters is commanded by the Chief of Joint Operations (CJO) and the current CJO is Vice Admiral Ben Key.

RAF Strike Command

The Royal Air Force's Strike Command was the military formation which controlled the majority of the United Kingdom's bomber and fighter aircraft from 1968 until 2007 when it merged with Personnel and Training Command to form the single Air Command. It latterly consisted of two formations – No. 1 Group RAF and No. 2 Group RAF. The last Commander-in-Chief was Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French.

Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies

The Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies (RAF CAPS) is a Royal Air Force sponsored think tank which engages in the study of air power.

The centre was launched on 23 August 2007 by Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff. Based at the Royal Air Force College, this think tank and research centre claims to bring together academia with serving members of the RAF to analyse how air power has been used in the past and how best it might be used in a modern, complex world of increasing ambiguity. It aspires to act as the RAF’s centre for strategic and conceptual thinking about air power, to "encourage and promote the study of air power, particularly within the Service and academia, but also throughout the broader intellectual community (including the media and think-tanks)".The centre hosts a website, runs major conferences, offers fellowships and, since 2008, publishes a journal called Air Power Review. Its board is headed by the Air Officer Commanding No. 22 (Training) Group. Its staff consists of key members of the Royal Air Force, the Air Historical Branch (RAF), and academics from King's College London's Air Power Studies Division. In 2009 the RAF CAPS worked with a King's College team of air power experts under the direction of Dr Joel Hayward to develop the UK's first specialised master's degree in air power studies.The Chief of the Air Staff's Air Power Workshop, sometimes known merely as the CAS Workshop, is a small working group of senior scholars and other theorists convened by the Chief of Air Staff, the professional head of the Royal Air Force. Run by the successive Directors of Defence Studies (RAF), the Workshop develops and debates cutting-edge ideas on air power and sporadically produces books containing the findings.

Shell Mex House

Shell Mex House is a grade II listed building situated at number 80 Strand, London, England. The current building was built in 1930–31 on the site of the Hotel Cecil and stands behind the original facade of the Hotel and between the Adelphi and the Savoy Hotel. Broadly Art Deco in style, it was designed by Frances Milton Cashmore of the architectural firm of Messrs Joseph.

Stephen Dalton

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Gary George Dalton, (born 23 April 1954) is a retired Royal Air Force commander and current Lieutenant Governor of Jersey.

As commanding officer of XIII Squadron, he deployed on Operation Jural, the United Kingdom's contribution to Operation Southern Watch enforcing the No-Fly Zone over Southern Iraq. He then moved on to high command, serving as Head of Air Operations at the Ministry of Defence during the preparations for and conduct of Operation Telic in Iraq. Most recently he was appointed Chief of the Air Staff, the professional head of the Royal Air Force, in which role he advised the British Government on the deployment of air power during the Libyan conflict. In that capacity he implemented 2,700 redundancies, as determined by the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Stephen Hillier

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, (born 1962) is a retired senior Royal Air Force officer, who served as Chief of the Air Staff from 2016 to 2019. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in the Gulf in 1999 and was awarded the United States 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 Sir Andrew Pulford as Chief of the Air Staff on 12 July 2016.

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