Cadet Paul McDonald, age 16, in front of a Spitfire at the former Battle of Britain airfield, RAF Manston, August 1965
Squadron Leader Paul McDonald taking Snoopy on his first Tornado sortie from Decimomannu in Sardinia, 1988
Group Captain T P McDonald OBE RAF, UK Senior National Representative, NATO Air
HQ, Ramstein, Germany, 2002-
Paul McDonald was a working class ‘Geordie’, born in Newcastle-
His first two flying tours were on Canberras, with 7 Squadron at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall and then his first overseas tour with XIII Squadron at RAF Luqa in Malta. He then became a Jet Provost Qualified Flying Instructor and served on the Refresher Flying Squadron at RAF Leeming. He was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in 1981 following an incident in a Jet Provost. During 1980 and 1981, he was seconded to the Central Flying School to fly the Meteor with the Vintage Pair Display Team.
In 1983 Paul was selected for cross-
His first ground appointment was as the Department of Air Warfare’s Central Region
Specialist at the RAF College Cranwell. After attending the Joint Services Defence
College at Greenwich, he was selected as the Personal Staff Officer to the Air Officer
Commanding Training Group. In March 1992, as a wing commander, he took command of
the Flying Training Wing of No 1 Flying Training School, RAF Linton-
Paul then joined the Directing Staff of the Royal College of Defence Studies in Belgrave Square in London. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 1995. His fourth overseas tour was in Kuwait as an adviser to the Kuwait Air Force. His final tour, and fifth overseas tour, was at the NATO Air Headquarters at Ramstein in Germany.
Since retiring from the RAF, Paul has maintained his links with the Air Cadets, where his association with the ‘light blue’ first began as a teenager. He is currently a volunteer gliding instructor with No 642 Volunteer Gliding Squadron. He is married to Jackie and they now live in in North Yorkshire. They have two adult children. Their son Matthew, his American wife, Dionne, and their son, Joaquin, live in Los Angeles. Their daughter Hannah, is a flight lieutenant air traffic controller in the RAF and, having completed two overseas tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, is currently based in Scotland.