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John F. G. Howe

John F. G. Howe: “


{{Infobox Military Person
|name= John Frederick George Howe CBE AFC
|lived= 1930 – date
|placeofbirth=South Africa
|allegiance={{flag|South Africa}}<br>{{flag|United Kingdom}}
|rank= [[Air Vice Marshal]]
|branch= {{air force|United Kingdom}}
|commands= OC [[No. 74 Squadron RAF]]<br>OC [[No. 228 Operational Conversion Unit RAF]]<br>OC [[RAF Gutersloh]]<br>Commandant [[Royal Observer Corps]]<br>Commandant and Provost Marshal [[RAF Regiment]]
|battles= [[Korean War]]<br>[[Suez Crisis|Suez]]<br>[[Cold War]]
|awards=[[Commander of the Order of the British Empire]]<br>[[Air Force Cross (United Kingdom)]]

[[Air Vice Marshal]] ”’John Frederick George Howe”’ [[Commander of the Order of the British Empire|CBE]] [[Air Force Cross (United Kingdom)|AFC]] [[Royal Air Force|RAF R’td]] (born 1930) was a senior [[Royal Air Force]] officer in the 1970s and 1980s, flying combat missions in the [[Korean War]] and [[North Sea]] interceptor air patrols during the [[Cold War]] finishing his distinguished career as Commandant and Provost Marshal of the [[RAF Regiment]]. Howe also served as Commandant of the [[Royal Observer Corps]] between 1977 and 1980.

Howe was born in South Africa and educated at St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown. He joined the [[South African Air Force]] immediately after leaving school. <ref>[ South African military history]</ref>

==Flying history==
===South African Air Force===
John Howe began his military flying career in the post [[Second World War]] [[South African Air Force]], and learned to fly in [[De Havilland Tiger Moth|Tiger Moth]]s, [[T-6 Texan|Harvard]]s and [[Supermarine Spitfire|Spitfire]]s. He was posted to [[2 Squadron SAAF|No 2 Squadron SAAF]] ‘The Flying Cheetahs’ and deployed to [[Korea]] to fly combat missions as part of South Africa’s contribution to the [[Korean War]] in support of the UN forces.

During his first tour of duty in Korea he flew the [[P-51 Mustang|Mustang F-51D]] fighter-bombers in front-line action. A later second tour saw him serving with [[US Army|US Infantry]] units, as a ground based Forward Air Controller, operating in the thick of the fighting.

===The RAF===
When the political situation in South Africa became more difficult and extreme he decided to resign from the SAAF and moved to England where he joined the [[Royal Air Force]] in the rank of [[Flight Lieutenant]] to fly early types of jet fighters. He became a [[Qualified Flying Instructor|QFI]] on Vampires, later converting to the [[Hawker Hunter]] and joining the front line North Sea interceptors of [[No. 222 Squadron RAF]] at [[RAF Leuchars]].

During the [[Suez crisis]] he again operated as a Forward Ground Controller and landed with the first invasion wave on the beaches with [[40 Commando]]. Following the Suez debacle Howe was promoted to [[Squadron Leader]] in 1960 and appointed as Officer Commanding [[No. 74 Squadron RAF]] the ‘Tiger’ Squadron, to introduce the first of the supersonic [[English Electric Lightning]] interceptors into service with the RAF. <ref>[ 74 Squadron history]</ref>

Howe was selected by the RAF to undertake several overseas demonstration tours where he showcased the remarkable capabilities of the new fighter in numerous displays. Promoted to [[Wing Commander (rank)|Wing Commander]] his developing career took him to a staff posting at Headquarters [[Fighter Command]], a senior instructor posting at [[Royal Air Force College Cranwell]] and later as a senior staff officer at the Joint Warfare School.

After an exchange tour posting to the [[United States]] where he flew most of the [[Century Series]] Fighters and the [[F-4 Phantom II|Phantom]] he returned to the UK as Officer Commanding [[No. 228 Operational Conversion Unit RAF]] at [[RAF Coningsby]] where he oversaw the introduction of the Phantom FGR2 into operational service with the RAF. In 1973 Howe was promoted to [[Group Captain]] and appointed Officer Commanding [[RAF Gutersloh]] on the front line of the [[Cold War]] [[Iron Curtain]] operations.

==Royal Observer Corps==
Following a tour of duty as the Operations Staff Officer at [[No. 11 Group RAF|No 11 Group, Strike Command]] at [[RAF Bentley Priory]] in 1977 Howe moved across the road on promotion to [[Air Commodore]] and took up the appointment as Commandant of the [[Royal Observer Corps]] who were also located at Bentley Priory.

Howe applied the same exacting standards to the ROC as he did to his flying. He found an organisation that was superficially sound but with an underlying air of relaxed complacency. For the first time he introduced a two pronged regime of both Annual Command Inspections and Operational Evaluations that would continue until the Corps was stood down. The Command Inspections took place in every group headquarters once every three years, with three months prior notice. Howe himself led a two man team of HQROC staff officers in a two day detailed review of adminstration and organisation of the full and part time staff.

The operation evaluations were a two day ‘No Notice’ assessment of the group’s operational performance similar to RAF station TACEVALs, from [[Transition To War]] right through to prolonged operations under nuclear attack. The OPEVAL evaluation assessors consisted of a joint six man team from HQROC and the [[United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation]] who would arrive on an irregular basis and place the whole group on a realistic but simulated war footing. The dual regime of inspections left the ROC up to date and efficient when Howe’s tenure as Commandant ended in 1980.

Howe also spearheaded the rapid improvement of inter-group communications over the coming years with the introduction of computerised message switching and modern integrated, [[Electro-magnetic pulse|EMP]] hardened telephone systems.

During his time with the ROC Howe additionally oversaw the Corps’ contributions to the [[Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II]] celebrations and events and ensured that every advantage was taken to publicise the works of the Corps. On 30 June 1977 Howe led an ROC contingent that took part in the Royal Review of Reserve and Cadet Forces at Wembley Stadium. On 29 July 1977 the Corps he was also present when the ROC was represented in the indoor exhibition at the Royal Review of the Royal Air Force at RAF Finningley.

==Later RAF service==
Following his time in charge of the ROC he was promoted to [[Air Vice Marshal]] as AOC Southern Maritime Air Region and his final tour of duty was as Commandant and Provost Marshal of the [[RAF Regiment]].

His biography, detailing his varied and disinguished career, entitled ‘Onward and Upward’ is scheduled for publication in the late Autumn of 2008.


{{s-bef|before= M H Miller}}
{{s-ttl|title=Commandant of the [[Royal Observer Corps]]|years=1977 – 1980}}
{{s-aft|after= R J Offord}}

{{DEFAULTSORT:Howe, John Frederick George}}
[[Category:Royal Air Force officers]]
[[Category:Commanders of the Order of the British Empire]]
[[Category:Recipients of the Air Force Cross (United Kingdom)]]
[[Category:People of the Royal Observer Corps]]
[[Category:1930 births]]

(Via Wikipedia – New pages [en].)

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