Air Commodore Mike Kitcher is the Commander of the Australian Air Task Group conducting combat operations over Iraq and Syria as part of Operation OKRA. The Air Task Group comprises 241 personnel in three operating locations providing strike, air to air refuelling, airborne and ground based command and control, intelligence and targeting capabilities to the US led coalition under Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.
Air Commodore Mike Kitcher joined the RAAF Academy in January 1984 and graduated from the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He graduated from No 145 Pilot's Course in 1988 and graduated from 2OCU Hornet Operational Conversion in 1990. After tours at 75 and 77SQN he graduated from No 23 Fighter Combat Instructor Course in 1994, and instructed F/A-18 operational conversion students at 2OCU. In 1996 he was promoted to a Flight Commander role at 2OCU, and was Course Director for No 24 FCI Course in 1997. Air Commodore Kitcher was then posted to 75SQN as the Executive Officer.
In mid 2000, Air Commodore Kitcher was posted to RAF Advanced Command and Staff College at Watchfield, UK, graduating with a Masters Degree from Kings College, London. In Sep 2001 he was posted to Executive Officer 81WG. In Sep 2002 Air Commodore Kitcher was posted to US CENTCOM and CENTAF as the RAAF Hornet Liaison Officer during planning for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2003 he was Chief of Staff and deputy commander for all RAAF F/A-18 and C-130 operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service in the operation. Later in 2003 Air Commodore Kitcher assumed command of No 3 Squadron.
Air Commodore Kitcher was posted to HQAC as the Director of Operations in 2006, and also served as the RAAF AOC Director. Air Commodore Kitcher worked in Defence industry from 2007-10, he then rejoined the permanent Air Force in 2011 as Chief of Staff at Air Combat Group until Dec 2012. Air Commodore Kitcher was then Director of the Australian Defence Force Airworthiness Coordination and Policy Agency in 2013.
Air Commodore Kitcher was promoted in Dec 2013 and commenced duties as Director General Capability Planning – Air Force. As the Director Air Commodore Kitcher was responsible for providing advice on the delivery of current capability for Air Force outcome; providing strategic management of Air Force capability including major systems, supplies and support. Following this current assignment as Commander Air Task Group 630, he will take up the role of Commander Air Combat Group.
Air Commodore Kitcher has over 3500 hours in military aircraft, almost 3000 in F/A-18 Hornets and is an A Category Fighter Combat Instructor.
He lives in Canberra with his wife Robyn and three sons, Dan, Joel and Tom. His sporting interests are Rugby, touch football, boating, skiing, surfing and surf lifesaving.