Gary Beck's story

Gary John James Beck AO was born on 25 March 1942 in Bendigo, Victoria.

As a junior officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Gary completed training with No. 34 Squadron at the School of Air Navigation.

In April 1968, Gary deployed to South Vietnam. He flew Canberra bombers with No. 2 Squadron RAAF, attached to the US Air Force 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phan Rang Air Base. Their missions involved day flying, aiming to destroy a range of enemy infrastructure and attack Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops. The flying operations were very dangerous and Gary recalled the technical accuracy needed to drop bombs in precise locations.

Returning home in March 1969 was a positive experience for Gary. He trained as a flying instructor, serving with No. 2 Flying Training School in Pearce, Western Australia.

Gary was appointed to several staff positions in the Department of Air. Then in November 1977, he received his first command at No. 2 Squadron. During a posting to the United States Air Force Air War College, he studied under an International Research Fellowship.

Returning to Australia, he was appointed Officer Commanding, RAAF Base Fairbairn, Canberra, in 1995. later, he was promoted to Air Vice Marshal, Chief of Australian Air Force Personnel.

In retirement, Gary remained active member in the veteran community. He was appointed to the Defence Housing Australia Board in November 2006. He spent 8 years with the Department of Veterans' Affairs in a statutory appointment as Director of War Graves. He's been a member of the ACT Council of Save the Children Australia and a patron of DUO Services Australia.

Last updated: 30 January 2023

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2023), Gary Beck's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 29 May 2023,
Was this page helpful?
We can't respond to comments or queries via this form. Please contact us with your query instead.