Cold War Historian
Global Media Handling
Planning & Negotiations
WING COMMANDER ANDREW BROOKES
FRAeS, Director of the Air League, TV Broadcaster, Academic, Aviation Historian and Author
As a well as the high profile job as Director of the Air League Andrew Brookes is an aviation specialist frequently called upon to present informed views on TV, radio and in the press. As a former Vulcan captain in the RAF and one of Mrs Thatcher’s Nuclear Release Officers prepared to operate ’one way Missions’ during the Cold War.
Andrew shares his first hand experience and explores the patriotic ethos and motivational culture that sustained the airbourne deterrent during these times. He also looks at the time of derring-do, from Suez in 1956 to retaking the Falklands in 1982.
His open and humorous anecdotes reveal robust management techniques still resonating over Afghanistan and Libya today.
CAREER TRIGGER POINTS
Andrew Brookes completed RAF pilot training after graduating from Leeds University. He became a Victor, Canberra and then a Vulcan pilot flying recce and courageous strike tours logging 3,500 flying hours.
At the end of the Falklands War he was selected for a special post in Current Intelligence at Strike Command. He joined the tri-service policy and plans staff of Command of the British Forces in Hong Kong to assist with the hand back of the Province to China.Sensitive to social issues, Andrew was appointed the last operational Commander at RAF Greenham Common airbase where the US Forces were stationed.
After a year studying International Relations at Cambridge he became Group Director at RAF Advanced Staff College and later Served ten years as Aerospace specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
At the end of the end of the Falklands war he was picked out as one of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘bright young brains’ and completed a Counter Intelligence tour at Strike Command.But his operational career took an unusual path when he joined the tri-service policy and plans staff of Command of the British Forces in Hong Kong to start off the process of handing back the governance to China.
Recognising Andrew’s ability to handle sensitive and complex scenarios, he was appointed the last operational RAF Commander at the Greenham Common cruise missile base. In effect he became the Government’s Secretary of State ‘man on the ground’ at the RAF base with American Forces occupation and surrounded by nuclear armament protestors.
It was here that he put into practice clear thinking and adept skills of being able to deliver the facts of this delicate social situation to the global media on a daily basis. For this he was awarded The Sun Readership Award for Plain Speaking.His career then took an academic turn when he spent a year studying International Relations at Downing College, Cambridge before becoming a Group Director at RAF Advanced Staff College and then co-ordinator of air –power studies at the Joint Services Command and Staff College.
Andrew’s final tour was in MoD Consultancy and Management Services. Joining civilian life,from 1999 – 2009 he was Aerospace specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.Andrew is now Director of the Air League.He is also a prolific writer with 15 books on aviation history to his credit and a well known aviation broadcaster on BBC, SKY, Al Jazerra and Channel Four. He received the Defence Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award in 2004 and 2006.
In 2009 he was awarded the C.P. Robertson Memorial Trophy for the best interpretation of the Royal Air Force to the public.