Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld AO DSC Recent Chief of Air Force Reflects
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO DSC joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an Academy Cadet in January 1980, winning the Flying Prize for his year.
Mel’s early career was spent in a variety of flying positions on Mirage and F/A-18 aircraft, before qualifying as a Fighter Combat Instructor in 1989, followed by a period of executive appointments in Fighter Squadrons.
In 1997, Mel attended the Royal Air Force Staff Course, graduating with a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King's College in London, before taking up a post as Deputy Director in the Aerospace Development Branch.
In 2001, Mel took command of No 75 Squadron and led the Squadron in the Middle East on Operations BASTILLE and FALCONER. In 2003, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in recognition of his performance as Commanding Officer 75 Squadron on Operation FALCONER, and 75 Squadron was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation.
On promotion to Group Captain in 2004, he was appointed Director Aerospace Combat Development before accepting appointment as Officer Commanding Number 81 Wing in January 2006.
Promoted to Air Commodore in 2007, Mel became the Director of the Combined Air Operations Centre in the Middle East Area of Operations, before returning to Australia to various Senior appointments including Director General Air Command Operations, Commander of Air Combat Group and then Air Commander Australia in 2012.
In 2015, Mel was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force in senior command and staff appointments.
After appointment to further very senior roles including Chief Joint Operations, he was appointed Chief of Air Force in July 2019.
Air Marshal Hupfeld is married to Louise, and his interests include mountain biking, running, fishing, light aircraft, and sailing.