Gerard Van Caelenberge

Chief of Defence – Belgium

  • Last updated: 16 Jul. 2012 11:50
Lieutenant-General pilot Gerard Van Caelenberge, Acting Chief of Staff of Belgium

General Gerard Van Caelenberge was born in Antwerp on 6 September 1952.

After completing his secondary education at the « Sint-Michielscollege »(Collège Saint Michel -secondary school) in Brasschaat and at the Royal Cadets School in Lier from 1967 to 1970, he joins the Air Force as student pilot of the polytechnic division at the Royal Military Academy from 1970 to 1975.
After his training on Marchetti SF-260 in Gossoncourt, on Fouga Magister and T-33 in Brustem, he obtains his pilot wings in July 1977.

After a pilot’s training on F-104G Startfighter, he is assigned to 350th Squadron of the 1st Fighter Wing in Beauvechain. He will attend a conversion on F-16 and will specialise in electronic warfare.
After completing the Staff Course at the Royal Defence College in Brussels from September 1983 until May 1984, he goes back to the 350th Squadron for the first time to exercise the duty of operations officer.

In April 1985, he is assigned to the Air Force Staff operations section, where he is in charge of the F-16 and of Air Defence.
From September 1988 until June 1989, he will attend the Senior Staff Course at the Royal Defence College and will next be appointed commander of the F-16 350th Squadron in Beauvechain.

In September 1991, he joins the Air Force Staff Plans and Programmes section, where he is in charge of the Mid-life Updates and of the self-defence systems for Mirage 5, F-16 and C-130H.

In August 1995, he goes back to the F-16 and the Beauvechain airbase as Commander of the Flying Group of the 1st Fighter Wing.
From March 1996, he will attend training as instructor on Alpha-jet and Marchetti SF-260 and will first be appointed interim commander of the base and next Flying Group Commander of the Centralised Flying Schools.

From August 1997 until February 1998, he attends the Senior Course at the NATO Defence College in Rome before being assigned to the Air Force Staff Plan and Programmes Section in Evere, which he will command in September 1998.
In December 2000, after the Air Force Staff being restructured, he is in charge of the new Plans, Policy and Requirements Section.

In September 2001, after a conversion on upgraded F-16AM, he is appointed Commander of the 10th Tactical Wing in Kleine Brogel.
In October 2004, he is transferred to the Defence Staff Operations & Training Department where he is appointed Head of the Concepts & Plans Division.

In January 2005, after this department being restructured, he is appointed Deputy Operations Commander.
On 1 April 2005, he is appointed Aide-de-Camp to the King.

On 1 January 2006, he is appointed Air Component Commander and from January 2006 until January 2008, he concurrently holds the position of Director of the European Air Group, an organisation whose headquarters is located in High Wycombe (UK) and which enhances interoperability among air forces of seven European countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom).

General Gerard Van Caelenberge has been appointed as Assistant Chief of Staff Operations and Training since 21 July 2009.

In addition, His Majesty the King appointed him as acting Chief of Defence as from the 30 March 2012.

On 13 July 2012, he is appointed Chief of Defence with the rank of General.

General Gerard Van Caelenberge is married to Anne Van den Berghe and has two daughters Elisabeth and Kathleen.