Introducing Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Retired)

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus (Allan) Houston was born in West Kilbride, a very small place to the south-west of Glasgow in Scotland overlooking the Firth of Clyde.

His father was a Royal Air Force officer who was shot down at a place called Handzame in 1943. He was captured by Belgian collaborators and was handed over to the Germans. He became a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III, “The Great Escape” camp.

Sir Angus saw an Australian Air Force life of Rotary Wing Flying in many types and operated in many challenging and sometimes dangerous roles.

Sir Angus was promoted to Air Marshal and took over as Chief of Air Force on 19 June 2001. Over four years, he led an extensive change in culture to put ‘People First’. He was also the first Chief of Air Force to achieve a zero fatal accident rate during his tenure.

Sir Angus was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal and appointed as Chief of the Defence Force in July 2005. During this time, he oversaw the successful deployment of 65,000 defence force personnel over 58 different operations.

Sir Angus retired from the military, as Chief of the Defence Force, in July 2011 after 41 years of service.

On his retirement from the Defence Force, the Government appointed Sir Angus as Chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board which provided strategic advice to the Australian Government in relation to the planning and implementation of the Anzac Centenary 2014-2018.

In 2012, he was appointed as Chair of Air Services Australia, a role he held until mid- 2018 and Chair of the Defence SA Advisory Board, replacing the role held previously by General Peter Cosgrove.

In 2014, Sir Angus was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to lead Australia’s efforts to help recover, identify and repatriate Australians killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 disaster. 

Today, Sir Angus continues to work in a number of major roles including as Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast and Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

Sir Angus is also the Patron/Ambassador for numerous not-for-profit and charitable organisations, which he generously provides his time.

Sir Angus is married to Liz and they have three sons and three granddaughters.

- Awarded the Air Force Cross for an open sea rescue in gale force winds in 1979.

2001 - Centenary Medal for outstanding service as Chief of Air Force.

2015 - Knight of the Order of Australia for extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to Australia, through distinguished service in the Australian Defence Force, continued commitment to serve the nation in leadership roles, particularly the national responses to the MH370 and MH17 disasters, and in a variety of roles in the community.