Royal Air Force Club Chairman Sue Gray CB, OBE RAF Appointed First Female Air Marshal

Wednesday 20th February 2019

The Club’s Chairman Sue Gray has today become the first female to attain the three star rank of Air Marshal in the Royal Air Force. 

Having served as the Club’s Chairman for two years and presiding over the Club’s centenary year and Royal Visit by the Club’s Patron, Her Majesty The Queen in October 2018 (pictured, AM Gray far right), AM Gray is now the most senior ranking female within the British Armed Forces.

Formerly Air Officer Commanding 38Gp, Chief Air Engineer to the Chief of the Air Staff, AM Gray is also the first female to hold the post of Chairman at the Club in the 100 years since inception. 

Appointed Director General of the Defence Safety Authority, AM Gray will now lead the way in overseeing the independent organisation, empowered by charter from the Defence Secretary, to undertake the roles of regulator, accident investigation and Defence Authority for safety.

Air Marshal Gray joined the RAF in 1985 and was commissioned into the engineer branch. During her career she has deployed to Iraq twice, during the First Gulf War in 1991, and again on Operation Telic in 2003 when she was Chief Engineer for the Joint Helicopter Force.

AM Gray is a proven leader with a Bachelor of Science graduate and highlights of her professional career include the introduction of the Typhoon into service and a tour as Head of Media & Communications.

Team working and ‘soft’ skills are never forgotten and it is with these at the fore that AM Gray helps develop the accessibility and profile of women within both Engineering and the Air Force through her leadership and ambassadorship of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in education. AM Gray also led the Club’s centenary event ‘ A Celebration of Women in Aviation’ in October 2018, commemorating and celebrating the role of women throughout the history of the Royal Air Force, inspiring young women who may consider the RAF as a career.

Air Marshal Gray said:

“I am immensely proud of my 34 years’ service in the RAF and I am delighted to be able to continue to do so in my new capacity as Director General of the Defence Safety Authority.

The honour of serving my country will never diminish and I look forward to the challenges of ensuring the UK stays at the forefront of Defence safety, regulation and investigation.”

The Club is delighted to recognise AM Gray’s continued professional success and know members will join us in congratulating her on this milestone achievement.

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