A FORMER station commander at RAF Odiham will become the new chief of the RAF this summer, it has been announced.
Air Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford will take on the role of Chief of the Air Staff in July, when Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton will retire.
The former Chinook pilot will become the first non-fighter pilot to take up the post in its 95-year history.
Sir Andrew flew more than 5,000 hours on both Wessex and Chinook helicopters, serving with 18 Squadron when it was based in Germany. The squadron is now based at RAF Odiham.
The 55-year-old became station commander at the north Hampshire airbase in December 2001, and oversaw Chinook involvement in the second Iraq war in 2003.
The current station commander at RAF Odiham, Group Captain Dom Toriati, flew missions with Sir Andrew in Iraq.
He told The Gazette: “He is clearly the right man for the job.
“He was a pilot here, a flight commander, a squadron commander and the station commander, and many people from past and present have worked with him and for him. There is a great sense of admiration for what he has achieved.”