Warrant Officer Ian ‘Blue’ Macgregor joined the RAAF on 8 January 1974 as a 15-year-old radio apprentice from Western Australia – and retires this month after serving the RAAF for 50 years.
FILE PHOTO: Ian ‘Blue’ Macgregor on enlistment day and on the flight deck.
Completing his apprenticeship at RAAF Base Laverton, Blue Macgregor was posted to RAAF Base Richmond as a radio technician in 36 Squadron.
In 1982, he was successfully picked to be retrained as a flight engineer on the C130H aircraft and later 33 SQN’s Boeing 707.
During this time Blue was deployed on several missions to Kuwait as part of Operation Southern Watch and Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper.
He had the honour of transporting numerous VIPs including Prime Ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard, religious leaders such as Pope John Paul II (including a short stint driving his popemobile) and members of the royal family such as the late HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
Following the tragic crash of a RAAF Boeing 707 in 1991, resulting in the loss of the aircraft and all five crew members Blue Macgregor began working on re-writing the safety procedures and risk assessments of what RAAF aircraft operations should be trained in a flight simulator rather than in real-world simulations.
For this work, WOFF Macgregor was awarded the Order of Australia for meritorious service to the RAAF as 33 SQN flight engineer leader and resident flight engineer of the B707 simulator project office.
In 1998 Blue was also awarded the Pathfinders Award for Excellence within the RAAF Air Mobility Group.
Following his retirement from full time service in 2006, WOFF Macgregor continued to serve in the reserves while working in a public servant role as Simulator Integrated Logistics Manager for 285 SQN.
More recently, he has played a vital role in helping develop the capabilities of the C130J simulator in conjunction with our allies.
These days, the young red-haired kid from WA is now the happy husband of 30 years to wife Fiona, father to Alison, Stephen, Daniel and Duncan and grandfather to a six.
WOFF Macgregor has seen a lot change in 46 years living in the Hawkesbury, including the many floods, bushfires and urban sprawl heading westward.
Following his 65th birthday in October last year, WOFF Macgregor’s time in the RAAF will finally end on 31 January 2024 after 50 years’ service.
In retirement, Blue Macgregor looks forward to continuing serving his community by volunteering at the Hawkesbury Community Kitchen as Treasurer of the Jeremiah Project and his local church at Vineyard.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Congratulation Ian ‘Blue’ Macgregor for reaching a truly rare milestone, and thank you for your tremendous service. I sincerely hope 285 SQN – and the RAAF more broadly – appreciate your momentous contribution, and will farewell you from service appropriately.