32nd Commanding General, PAF
09 January 2012 to 30 April 2014
LIEUTENANT GENERAL LAURO CATALINO G DELA CRUZ AFP is the 32nd Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force. As the professional head of the PAF, he is primarily responsible for the organization, training, equipage and deployment of air force units in support of the AFP mission.
LT GEN DELA CRUZ began his military career when he graduated as a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1980 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Philippine Air Force. He then undertook military flying training at the PAF Flying School and earned his Wings in 1981. He was subsequently assigned as a pilot in the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing and saw extensive service throughout the country. In the process, he amassed more than 2,000 flying hours in combat missions against communist and secessionist rebels as well as in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief sorties. He also became an Instructor Pilot at the PAF Flying School, 100th Training Wing.
As an operational commander, he commanded Tactical Operations Group 12 that conducted air operations against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and a breakaway Moro Islamic Liberation Front group at Maguindanao in 2004. During the same period, he also distinguished himself as a Mission Commander in a joint operation with elements of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the Philippine National Police against a kidnap criminal syndicate.
LTGEN DELA CRUZ’s line and staff assignments were complemented by professional military education as well as specialized training courses here and abroad to include: Basic Airborne Course (1981); UH-1H Pilot Qualification Course (1985); Airport Security Training at Virginia, USA (1986); B-205A Helicopter Qualifying Course (1987); Fund Accountable Officers Seminar (1988); Squadron Officer Course at the Air Force Officer School where he finished fifth in his class (1990); Operations Research System Analysis-Military Application Course 1 at Fort Lee, Virginia, USA (1992); T-41D and SF-260 Flight Instructor Courses (1995); and, General Staff Course at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Command and Staff College (2001). He also earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the Philippine Christian University in 2000 and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Arts at Massey University in New Zealand in 2001.
The 32nd Air Force Commanding General is a recipient of 68 medals and awards including two Gold Cross Medals, two Bronze Cross Medals, Philippine Legion of Honor, the Malaysian Armed Forces Order for Valour, Distinguished Aviation Cross, Mindanao-Sulu Campaign Medal, Visayas Campaign Medal, Anti-Dissidence Campaign Medal, Luzon Campaign Medal, and the Combat Kagitingan Badge for gallantry in action.
Prior to his appointment to the top post of the Philippine Air Force, LTGEN DELA CRUZ commanded the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing where he earned his first star, followed by an appointment as the Chief of Air Staff where he earned his second star.
He is best remembered for POWER-UP PAF, mission focus, and attention to detail. The PAF during his term entered the new age of a better equipped force with the delivery of eight W-3A Sokol helicopters. He successfully pursued modernization plans that were approved through the Defense System of Management as exemplified by the signing of the Fighter/ Surface Attack/ Lead-in-Fighter Trainer on 28 March 2014. LTGEN DELA CRUZ retired from the military service on 30 April 2014.