Go to top of page

Board Members

Principal Air Chaplain Mark Willis

Principal Air Chaplain Mark Willis was appointed to the RWTF board as Chair of the Board on 6th February 2018.

In April 1991, Mark was commissioned as an Army Reserve Chaplain and began Chaplaincy with an appointment as the Unit Chaplain to 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) and then to No. 6 Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR). Whilst posted to 2/14 LHR Mark won the Prince of Wales Award.

In October 1996 Chaplain Willis resigned his commission with the Army to be appointed to the Permanent Air Force as Chaplain, and following Initial Officer Course was posted to RAAF Base Williamtown.

Postings saw Chaplain Willis take his family to East Sale; Tindal; 1 Recruit Training Unit, Edinburgh; Butterworth in Malaysia; Williamtown; Williams; Canberra; Glenbrook as Director Chaplaincy – Air Command, and to the Command Chaplain position within Joint Health Command located in Canberra.

Between 2003 and 2016, Chaplain Willis deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) on Operation Catalyst; Phuket, Thailand for Operation Tsunami Assist; Kandahar, Afghanistan on Operation Slipper; to Operation Pakistan Assist II; MEAO on Operation Slipper as the Senior Theatre Chaplain; and on Operation Okra in support of the Air Task Group.

In December 2017 CHAP Willis was advanced to Principal Air Chaplain and appointed Director General Chaplaincy – Air Force (DGCHAP-AF).

Principal Air Chaplain Royce Thompson

Th. L. (Ridley College, Melb Uni), Grad Dip Ed (SA Uni), Cert Computer Business App (EGCC of TAFE), Cert 4 in Training and Assessment (East Vic Workforce RTO), Grad Dip Adv Chap Cse (US Navy, NETC, RI, USA ), MA (Hum Devel spec Org & Mgt) (Salve Regina College, Newport, RI USA ), DMin (Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA, USA).

Principal Air Chaplain Thompson was appointed to the RWTF Board on 14 May 2000. He served as Deputy Chairman of the Board from 8 September 2000 to 10 January 2002 and then as Chairman of the Board until 15 October 2008.

In 1982 Principal Air Chaplain Thompson commissioned as a Chaplain, in the Australian Regular Army and assigned to 6 Battalion, Airborne Infantry, in Qld. He transferred to the Air Force in 1986. In 1988, he was posted to the US Navy Chaplains School, at the US Navy War College, in Newport RI USA. He graduated from the Advanced Chaplains Course Class of 1989 and completed a Master’s Degree at Salve Regina University. He was promoted to Chaplain (Wing Commander) in 1994 and Chaplain (Air Commodore) in 1996 when he assumed the post of Command Chaplain for Logistic and Training Commands. From 1997 until 2002 he was the Director General Chaplaincy Services Air Force in Canberra. In 2002 he was awarded a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. In 2004 he retired from the Permanent Air Force and moved to the RAAF Specialist Reserve.

Principal Air Chaplain Thompson retired from the RAAF Specialist Reserve in October 2018.

Beyond Defence he has an interest in Rural and Remote ministry serving on the Federal Executive of Bush Church Aid (BCA) and Chair of their NSW /ACT Regional Committee. From early 2007 he has been appointed by BCA to work with the Archbishop of Sydney and the Provincial Bishops of NSW on a Strategy for the support of the Church affected by Climate Change in the Province of NSW. He now works for BCA seeking to develop their ‘Open Gate’ Program. He is currently serving on the Boards of The Bush Church Society Aid, Dunorkney Nominees Pty Ltd and Thompson Pastoral Care Pty Ltd.

Air Commodore Sue McGready

Air Commodore Sue McGready was appointed to the RWTF board on 13th August 2018.

Air Commodore McGready hales from Brisbane and joined the Royal Australian Air Force on 16 January 1987, commencing studies at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). She graduated from ADFA with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Management in December 1989 and proceeded on her first posting to No 7 Stores Depot in Toowoomba. As a junior officer, she held the positions of Stock Control and Procurement Officer, Air Movements Officer Richmond, Supply Officer and then Operations Officer at No 1 Operational Support Unit, Supply Officer No 6 Squadron and Escort Officer to the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence.

Air Commodore McGready was promoted to Squadron Leader in January 2001 and was posted to Air Force Headquarters in Strategic Logistics Policy and the Directorate of Personnel Officers. As a Wing Commander, she served as the Executive Officer Cadets at ADFA, for which she was awarded a Vice Chief of Defence Force Commendation. She was also posted as the Deputy Director Supply Chain Development in Logistics Branch.

In January 2009, Air Commodore McGready was promoted to Group Captain and appointed the Director Supply Capability – Air Force. In January 2012, she was appointed the Commander Defence National Storage and Distribution Centre in Sydney, for which she received a Conspicuous Service Cross in the 2015 Australia Day Honours List. In August 2015, she was promoted to Air Commodore and appointed Director General Estate Service Delivery where she was responsible for all base services across all Australian Defence bases. In January 2018 she was appointed to her current position as Director General Defence Force Recruiting.

As a junior officer, Air Commodore McGready experienced operational service with the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOMII) as the Staff Officer Air in the Force Joint Movement Co-ordination Centre for which she received a Force Commander’s Commendation. She also deployed to Papua New Guinea as part of Operation PLES DRAI in 1998.

Air Commodore McGready is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Command and Staff College and in addition to her Bachelor of Arts, holds a Graduate Diploma in Management (Defence Studies) and a Graduate Diploma in Management (Project Management). She was elected as a Director of the Logistics Association of Australia for 2011-2013. In 2015, she became a Member of the Royal College of Defence Studies after a year of study in London.

Group Captain Catherine Wallis

Group Captain Catherine Wallis was appointed to the RWTF board on 15th June 2013.

Group Captain Wallis commissioned as a Legal Officer through the Undergraduate Scheme, and initially served at 322 Combat Support Wing, RAAF Tindal and Headquarters Combat Support Group, RAAF Amberley. She has served in a range of legal roles including Counsel Assisting the Board of Inquiry into a fatal Sea King crash; and a secondment to the US Army Center for Law and Military Operations in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she was responsible for developing legal lessons learned from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From 2008-2009 Group Captain Wallis worked with the United States Air Force at the Pentagon, Washington DC, for which she was awarded a United States Meritorious Service Medal. From 2012-2016 she was posted to Air Force Headquarters, initially as the legal officer advising the Chief of Air Force and Deputy Chief of Air Force; and later responsible for the promotion of Air Force through special events, community engagement and public relations, as well as the management of incidents, ministerial advice and freedom of information.

From 2017-2018 she served as Commandant RAAF College, responsible for all non-specialist training and education as well as the promotion of Air Force through the RAAF Band. She is currently The Director of Inquiries and Investigations at the Office of the Inspector General Australian Defence Force.

Group Captain Wallis has deployed twice on operations. In 2004 she was the legal advisor to the Air Component on Operation Catalyst (Iraq), and in 2013 she provided legal specialist advice to a number of inquiries into incidents in Afghanistan as well as conducting an audit of Australian detainee operations.

Group Captain Wallis holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws (Honours 1st class), Master of Laws, Master of International Security Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Military Law. She is a Legal Practitioner (ACT) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Group Captain Gerald van Leeuwen CSM

Group Captain van Leeuwen was appointed to the RWTF Board with effect from 1 April 2017.

Group Captain van Leeuwen joined the Air Force in January 1989 and graduated from Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) prior to completing his Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering degree at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). His early postings were to RAAF Base Richmond, NSW working with Air Force fixed wing transport and Army rotary wing aircraft before moving to Melbourne to taking up an airworthiness regulation (staff) officer role within the Directorate General Technical Airworthiness (DGTA), now known as the Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA).

In 1999 he posted back to RAAF Base Richmond as Chief Engineer of the Air Mobility Training and Development Unit (AMTDU) and was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader in 2000. Before mid-2002 he had operationally deployed to East Timor on three separate occasions in support of aircraft recovery and uncleared load operations, and his efforts leading C‑130J aerial delivery certification activities during the aircraft’s introduction to service were recognised with the award of a Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) in the 2002 Queens Birthday Honours list.

Between June 2002 and July 2003, GPCAPT van Leeuwen was posted to the USA and attended the National Test Pilot School (NTPS) in Mojave, California following competitive selection for flight test training. He graduated as a ‘Distinguished Graduate’ with a Master’s degree in Flight Test & Evaluation and subsequently enjoyed three consecutive postings, mainly involved in fast jet flight test, within the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) at RAAF Base Edinburgh, SA. Highlights included a tour as the Australian Defence Force’s (ADFs) Senior Flight Test Engineer and completing a Master’s degree in Engineering, majoring in business and engineering management.

GPCAPT van Leeuwen was posted back to the USA in 2007 to the US F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) and promoted to the rank of Wing Commander in 2008. During that time he was an integral part of the team that issued the initial flight clearances for the each of the first flights for all three F-35 variants. His contributions to the JSF Program were acknowledged by the US DoD with the award of a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM). On return to Australia in 2011, he assumed Command of a flight test squadron, namely the Aerospace System Engineering Squadron at RAAF Base Edinburgh, SA. Late in 2013 he was seconded by the Chief of Air Force to Spain to be the KC-30A Test Director, remediating known problems with the aircraft’s boom and introducing the KC-30A tanker boom capability into Air Force service.

After completing studies at the Capability Management and Technology College (CTMC) in 2015 and gaining another postgraduate degree, this time in Capability Management, GPCAPT van Leeuwen was promoted to his current rank. Since that time he has been Project Director for Airlift and Tanker Projects and the inaugural Officer Commanding of the (F-35A) Air Combat Systems Program Office at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. He has also graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors program and sits on a number of Not-For-Profit (NFP) Boards, including as a trustee of the RAAF Welfare Trust Fund. On 15 July 2019 he will be promoted to the rank of Air Commodore and take up position as the Director General, Aerospace Combat Systems in Canberra, ACT.

Squadron Leader Allana Frank

Squadron Leader Allana Frank was appointed to the RWTF Board on 1 March 2014.

Squadron Leader Allana Frank enlisted in the RAAF in 1985 as a Clerk Administrative and, since completing initial employment training has had a number of postings during her career. This included becoming the Warrant Office Senior Mustering Adviser for Personnel Capability Specialists in the A1 Directorate at Air Command.

Squadron Leader Frank has seen operational service in both East Timor and Iraq. She lists her career highlights as being part of No 6 Hospital, the first RAAF Hospital deployed in 2001/2 as the United Nations Military Hospital to East Timor. Another highlight was being deployed to Baghdad in the Force Logistics Element in 2005 and being in country for the first free election.

Squadron Leader Frank has been awarded the Australia Day Medallion in 2007 in recognition of her performance at No 3 Hospital and a Deputy Commander Joint Operations silver commendation in 2017 for her work in personnel and welfare.

Squadron Leader Frank was commissioned into the Personnel Capability Officer Specialisation in August 2014, with recent postings to Headquarters Joint Operations Command, Staff Officer - Commander Joint Agency Task Force – Operation Sovereign Borders and currently posted as Staff Officer Personnel 2 in Headquarters Air Warfare Centre.

Squadron Leader Claire Milton

Squadron Leader Claire Milton was appointed to the RWTF Board on 1 April 2017.

Squadron Leader Milton joined the Air Force in January 2002, commencing studies at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). Following graduation from ADFA, she proceeded on her first posting to RAAF Base Edinburgh for a year of Professional Development & Training before moving to Williamtown to take on the role of Aircraft Maintenance Officer at 76 Squadron.

On promotion to Flight Lieutenant in 2009, she took on a team leader role within the Tactical Fighter System Program Office. Responsible for support to all aeromechanical systems on the F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet, she provided technical, logistical and financial expertise for the fleet of 71 aircraft. For her consistently high performance in this role and contribution to significant unit outcomes, she was awarded a Defence Support Services Commendation.

In 2013, she undertook a challenging staff officer role within the Surveillance and Control Group Headquarters, managing the Technical Capability and in-service support elements of P-3C Orion and E-7A Wedgetail aircraft. The following year, she posted to Canberra, taking the opportunity for a System Safety role within the P-8A Poseidon Project Office. During her tenure, she was promoted to Squadron Leader before taking on the position in charge of aircraft certification activities. For her contribution to the P8-A Poseidon Acquisition, she was awarded a Defence Support Services Group Commendation.

Squadron Leader Milton transferred to Service Category 3 in April 2019 and is currently employed as a Certification Manager within the C-27J Project Office.

Squadron Leader Milton’s qualifications include:

2013 – Advanced Diploma of Air Force Studies

2005 – Bachelor of Engineering with Honours – University of New South Wales

Warrant Officer – Air Force Robert Swanwick

Warrant Officer – Air Force Robert Swanwick was appointed to the RWTF Board on 16 March 2016.

Warrant Officer Robert Swanwick joined the Air Force in 1979 as an Airframe Fitter. After postings to the RAAF School of Technical Training, Transport Section RAAF Base Williamtown and 2 Operational Conversion Unit Warrant Officer Swanwick remustered to Helicopter Crewman in 1982.

As a crewman he enjoyed postings at 5 and 9 Squadrons and was deployed on operations with the Australian Multinational Force and Observers, flying missions along the border of Egypt and Israel.

Warrant Officer Swanwick was promoted to Warrant Officer in 1991 and since then has served in various aircrew positions, staff roles and a brief stint in the civilian sector working as a barista for his daughter in Canberra. A highlight of this time was when Warrant Officer Swanwick was selected to be the Staff Officer Communications for the Air Force’s 75th Anniversary. He also served for 14 years as the Other Ranks Representative Trustee on the MSBS Board.

Warrant Officer Swanwick returned to the Permanent Air Force in 2014 and remustered to Executive Warrant Officer to take up the position of Group Warrant Officer - Surveillance and Response Group at RAAF Base Williamtown. Warrant Officer Swanwick was selected as the 8th Warrant Officer of the Air Force in July 2014 and commenced this role on 1 December 2015.