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 was awarded 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.
Sir Stephen Hillier
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier in 2016
|Born||1962 (age 56–57)|
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
|Service/||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1980–2019|
|Rank||Air Chief Marshal|
|Commands held||Chief of the Air Staff|
No. 2 Group
II (AC) Squadron
|Awards||Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath|
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal (United States)
Early life and education
Hillier was born in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, the son of Victor and Ann Hillier, and grew up in nearby Bellfield. During the Second World War, his father was an aircraftman in the Royal Air Force, and was a wireless operator in a mobile signals unit in Burma and India. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy and as a youth earned a private pilot's licence through the Air Training Corps flying scholarship scheme.
Hillier was commissioned as an acting pilot officer on 6 November 1980, and regraded to pilot officer (after Initial Officer Training) on 6 November 1981. He was promoted to flying officer on 6 November 1982. He was a pilot – flying the Tornado aircraft – and served in the 1991 Gulf War. He was promoted to squadron leader on 1 July 1991 and wing commander on 1 July 1996, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions commanding II (AC) Squadron in the Gulf during Operation Southern Watch on 29 October 1999.
Promoted to group captain on 1 July 2000, Hillier became station commander at RAF Lossiemouth. He then served in the Iraq War, where he commanded the Tornado Detachment with aircraft supplied from No. 2, 12 and 617 Squadrons. For this, he was awarded the US Bronze Star Medal on 31 October 2003. He was also appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2005 New Year Honours, just prior to his promotion to air commodore on 1 January 2005 of that year.
Hillier served as Head of Theatre Airspace Capability in the Ministry of Defence prior to his promotion to air vice marshal and appointment as Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group in September 2008. In October 2010 he returned to the Ministry of Defence as Director Information Superiority and in June 2012 he was promoted to air marshal and appointed Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability). He managed the UK's Carrier Enabled Power Projection Programme, encompassing the aircraft carrier, F35B Lightning II and Merlin Helicopter programmes; his appointment has been criticised by former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West. Hillier became Air Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to Queen Elizabeth II and succeeded Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford as Chief of the Air Staff on 12 July 2016.
- "Statutory registers - Births". Scotland's People. National Records of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon.
- "Scots-born RAF chief who was inspired by his father's World War 11 campaign". The Herald Scotland. 31 March 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
- Russell, Ian (7 April 2016). "Former Kilmarnock Academy pupil is set to be appointed RAF's top man". The Daily Record. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
- "No. 48460". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 December 1980. p. 17812.
- "No. 48796". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 November 1981. p. 14595.
- "No. 49188". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 December 1982. p. 15998.
- "ATA Museum Events page (includes photo)". Air Transport Auxiliary Museum. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
- "No. 52591". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 July 1991. pp. 10091–10092.
- "No. 54453". The London Gazette. 1 July 1996. p. 8919.
- "No. 55651". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 October 1999. p. 11558.
- "No. 55901". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 July 2000. p. 7250.
- "Former Lossiemouth commander appointed to top post". Press and Journal. 31 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- Wise, Andrew, ed. (18 April 2003). "Crews are all heroes". RAF News. Innsworth: RAF (1, 071): 11. ISSN 0035-8614.
- "No. 57100". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 October 2003. p. 12.
- "No. 57509". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2004. pp. 4–6.
- "No. 57553". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 February 2005. p. 1518.
- "Air Rank Appointments List 03/08". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Air Rank Appointments List 03/10". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Air Rank Appointments List 03/11". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Officer put in charge of Royal Navy's new £6.2bn aircraft carriers is a top RAF man who has never served at sea". Daily Mail. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "The Secretary of State announces new Senior Appointments in the Armed Services". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
- "Sir Stephen Hillier". Royal Air Force. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
- "No. 61656". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 July 2016. p. 16088.
- "New Year Honours 2014 Military Division" (PDF). UK Government. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
| Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group
| Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability)
Sir Andrew Pulford
| Chief of the Air Staff