Gav Parker was commissioned into the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1990. Following officer training at the RAF College, he was awarded his wings in 1993 on completion of the Advanced Flying and Tactical Weapons Training Course, where he was selected for duty as a fighter pilot. Following conversion to the Tornado F3 he was posted to 43(F) Squadron at RAF Leuchars in Scotland before being sent as an instructor to 56(R) Squadron, the Tornado F3 Operational Conversion Unit based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
On promotion to the rank of Squadron Leader in 2000, he was posted back to RAF Leuchars to command ‘A Flight’ on 111(F) Squadron. In 2002 he was posted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in Whitehall, London, where he was responsible for staffing air defence operational requirements, including the acquisition and through life management of air-to-air missiles and fighter aircraft. In 2004 he completed the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College where he was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander before being posted to the J3 (Ops) Division in the UK Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) in 2005, initially as a member of the Iraq Operations Team, and then as the Global Counter Terrorism Operations Team Leader. Following this tour, he returned to RAF Coningsby to stand up and command XI Squadron, the second RAF squadron to be equipped with the (Eurofighter) Typhoon FGR4, charged with delivering its air-to-surface capabilities.
Parker was promoted to the rank of Group Captain in January 2009 and was appointed an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List (QBHL) later that year. After a short tour in the Strategy, Policy and Plans division at HQ Air Command, where he was DACOS Plans and Programmes with responsibility for infrastructure plans, basing strategy and financial programming, he was posted back to the MOD for the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, where he served as the Assistant Head of the Equipment Programme, responsible for Capability Strategy and the financial programming of the Defence Equipment Programme.
In September 2011 he was promoted to the rank of Air Commodore and served as Air Officer Scotland and Station Commander at RAF Leuchars until February 2013, before being posted back to PJHQ as ACOS J5 (Plans), covering the military drawdown and transition in Afghanistan, as well as crisis and contingency planning for the Europe, the Pacific, the Middle-East and Africa. On completion of his tour at PJHQ, he attended the Higher Command and Staff Course in January 2015.
Promoted to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal in June 2015, he was appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group, exercising command of the RAF’s tactical and strategic Air Mobility Force, its Force Protection Force, including the RAF Police and the RAF Regiment, and exercising full command over the RAF Rotary Wing Force assigned to Joint Helicopter Command. In June 2017 he was selected to be the Defence Attaché and Head of British Defence Staff in the United States, and took up post in Washington DC in September 2017, prior to his appointment as a CB in the QBHL in June 2019.
Gav is married to Lucy and has 6 children.