New Commandant Takes Post

On Monday 21st September 2020, Air Commodore Tony Keeling joins the RAF Air Cadets as Commandant

Air Commodore Tony Keeling OBE MDA MA BEng CEng FRAeS FIET RAFR

Enthused by life as a Cadet in the Air Training Corps with 145 (Altrincham & Hale) Squadron, Tony enlisted into the RAF in 1987 as an Apprentice, originally training as an airframe and propulsion technician before commissioning in 1999 as an Engineer Officer following a university cadetship at the Royal Military College of Science. After many years in a variety of appointments, he joined the RAF Reserve in September 2020.

Tony’s first tour was on 5(AC) Squadron maintaining Tornado F3 and in 2006 he was appointed Senior Engineering Officer of 2(AC) Squadron. As OC Engineering & Logistics Wing at RAF Lossiemouth in 2011, Tony commanded a large team at a time of extraordinary organisational change and operational tempo. Immediately following that tour, he deployed as Chief of Staff Support to 904 Expeditionary Air Wing based at Kandahar in Afghanistan. More recently he commanded RAF Wittering, a very busy flying training airfield and home to the A4 Force. In his last appointment he was proud to be the A4 Force Commander.

Tony has a broad support background having worked in the Defence Logistics Organisation, MOD Saudi Armed Forces Project supporting Hawk Mk65, and in Defence Equipment & Support reviewing airworthiness standards for Rivet Joint. In 2010 he joined the newly formed Military Aviation Authority where he was responsible for benchmarking against Regulators in other sectors. Promoted to group captain in May 2015, Tony was posted to Joint Forces Command where he was the Chief of Staff for the Anglo-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force. A return to MOD followed, this time in focussed on strategic finance and military capability planning. Appointed Air Officer A4 in September 2019, he had responsibility for many of the Engineering and Logistics Branches and Trades, over 2500 types of airfield and engineering equipment, the full range of RAF Logistics capabilities, Photography and the RAF’s Music Services.

A graduate of the Advanced Command & Staff Course, Defence Senior leadership Programme and the Windsor Leadership Trust, Tony holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeromechanical Systems Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies. He also completed distance learning for a Master of Business Administration (Defence) from Cranfield University whilst a squadron leader.

Tony lives with his wife and two dogs in their own home in Grantham; they have two children, both of whom are at university. He is also: a Chartered Engineer; Science Technology Engineering and Maths Ambassador; Fellow of both the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institute of Engineering Technology; Trustee of the RAF Halton Apprentice Trust; the RAF’s LGBT+ Advocate; a founding member of RAF Diversity Allies; sits on the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity & Inclusivity Leadership Group; and volunteers as a governor at a Further Education College. Tony’s gender pronouns are he/him.