Guest of Honour 1998

Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns
Chief of the Air Staff

Air Chief Marshal Johns was commissioned at the Royal Air Force College in 1959 after completing flying training on Piston Provost and Meteor aircraft. He was posted to No 4 Squadron, flying Javelins in the night/all-weather fighter role, first at RAF Duxford with subsequent moves to RAF Waterbeach and RAF Binbrook. ln 1964, he transferred to Hunters and the following year was posted to No 1417(Fighter Reconnaissance) Flight at RAF Khormaksar in Aden, for a two year tour (during which time he flew alongside 208 Squadron in at least one detachment).

RAF Valley followed in 1967, when Flt Lt Johns was a flying instructor on Gnats. On promotion to Squadron Leader in 1969, he moved to RAF Cranwell as a Jet Provost Squadron Commander. The tour was interrupted at the half way point by an attachment to the Queen's Flight to take over as HRH The Prince of Wales’ flying instructor on the Bassett. Later he instructed the Prince to wings standard on the Jet Provost back at Cranwell.

The RAF Staff College came next, in 1972, followed by a year as PSO to Commander-in-Chief Near East Air Force in Cyprus. Converting to the Harrier, Wg Cdr Johns was posted to RAF Wildenrath as OC 3(F) Squadron. At the end of 1977, having moved to RAF Gutersloh, he left Germany for the MoD, where he served first in the Directorate of Forward Policy and then, on promotion to Group Captain, as Director of Air Staff Briefing. ln 1982 he returned to RAF Gutersloh as the RAF Germany Harrier Force Commander. During this second German tour he also participated in the joint Army/RAF Air Mobility Trial, flying Puma and Chinook helicopters, which were under his peacetime command as Station Commander.

Promoted to Air Commodore in January 1985, he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies before taking up the appointment of Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters RAF Germany in December 1986. In January 1990, Air Vice-Marshal Johns was appointed the Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters Strike Command and Deputy Chief of Staff Operations United Kingdom Air Forces. For the last three months of that tour, he was Director of Operations for Operation GRANBY at JHQ High Wycombe.

On 15 April 1991, appointed Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Johns was immediately charged with leading the Joint Service Reconnaissance Team that established Operation HAVEN to assist the displaced Kurds in Northern Iraq. On promotion to Air Marshal on 22 February 1993, he assumed the post of Deputy Commander in Chief, Headquarters Strike Command and Chief of Staff, United Kingdom Air Forces, which post he relinquished on promotion to Air Chief Marshal on 16 June 1994. Air Chief Marshal Johns was also made a KCB in 1994.

Following a brief period as AOCinC STC, Sir Richard became Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Northwestern Europe from 1August 1994 until 11 March 1997 and on 10 April 1997, he was appointed Chief of the Air Staff.

Air Chief Marshal Johns is married to Elizabeth and they have two daughters and a son. His interests include military history, hill walking, rugby, cricket and most recently, an interest in equitation.