Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Francis Ogolla addressing a contingent of soldiers at Embakasi Garrison, Nairobi on December 21, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

News of the death of the Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Omondi Ogolla on Thursday, April 18 shocked the country.

The departed CDF was born on February 12, 1962, in Siaya County.

General Francis Ogolla died in a KDF helicopter crash in Elgeyo Marakwet while in the line of duty alongside nine other military officers.

He goes down history as the shortest-serving Chief of Defence Forces, having held the position for barely a year.

The late General is survived by his wife Aileen Ogolla and their two children.

He holds a Diploma in International Studies and Military Science from Egerton University, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Armed Conflict, and Peace Studies (First Class Honours), and a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Nairobi.

He also attended the École Militaire de Paris and the National Defence College of Kenya.

He was appointed Chief of the Defence Forces on April 28, 2023, succeeding his predecessor, Robert Kibochi. He was then sworn in a day later.

Before his appointment, General Francis Omondi Ogolla was the Vice Chief of the Defence Forces.

General Ogolla joined the Kenya Defence Forces on April 24, 1984, and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant on May 6, 1985, and posted to Kenya Air Force.

He trained as a fighter pilot with USAF and as an instructor pilot at the Kenya Air Force (KAF). He also trained in other fields including imagery intelligence and counter-terrorism. 

Gen.Ogolla rose through the ranks to become a Major General and was appointed the Commander of Kenya Air Force in July 2018, a post he has served for three years.

He previously held various appointments in Training, Command, and Staff including Deputy Commander at Kenya Air Force, Base Commander at Laikipia Air Base, Commanding Officer of Tactical Fighter Wing, Chief Flying Instructor at Kenya Air Force Flying Training School, and Operations Desk Officer at Kenya Air Force Headquarters.

He also served in the former Yugoslavia as an Observer and Military Information Officer from 1992 to 1993, as chairman of the Military Christian Fellowship from 1994 to 2004, and as co-chair of the Association of African Air Chiefs between 2018 and 2019.

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