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Paul Atherton served for 34 years with the Royal Air Force retiring as an Air Vice-Marshal. He amassed over 5000 hours as a pilot on VC10, TriStar and C-130 K and J model aircraft. He commanded No 216 Squadron, Basrah Air Station in Iraq, and RAF Lyneham. He has undertaken staff and policy appointments in Headquarters 2 Group, MOD, The Defence Procurement Agency (as was) and Air Command. Notable roles included implementation of wide-ranging joint initiatives resulting from the 1998 Strategic Defence Review and the senior military member of the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme. Paul has completed both Advanced and Higher Command and Staff Courses and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies. As an Air Officer he held the positions of Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategy, Policy and Plans and then Air Officer Operations at HQ Air. On promotion to 2-star he was the Director of the UK Military Aviation Authority before completing his final tour as Chief of Staff Operations, again at HQ Air. Paul was appointed OBE for his service in Iraq. On retiring from the regular RAF, he spent 2 years as the RAF Commander of the USAF installation at Croughton. An ex Combined Services and RAF cricketer he also has a passionate interest in all sports and was President of the RAF and Adastrian Cricket Clubs, and also Chairman of Combined Services cricket during his time in the Service. He still retains the role of President of the 216 Sqn Association.
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