CHAPLAIN Mark Willis
Mark was born in January 1958 in Lismore, Northern NSW and attended ten different schools across Australia before completing his schooling at Beenleigh High School, Queensland in 1975. He became competent in wheat and sheep farming, truck driving, fruit picking, bank telling, sheet metal production (assembly and purchasing) and youth work.
In 1979 Mark travelled to the United States to begin his theological training with Churches of Christ and completed that training at Kenmore Christian College, Brisbane in November 1987, graduating with a Diploma in Ministerial Studies.
Mark has been involved in church/youth work since 1975, leading small groups, organising activities, leading services, preaching and organising large evangelistic events. Mark was awarded most effective communicator at the inaugural preacher-boy competition within NSW in 1980. His first church appointment was in Brisbane in 1987, where he became the Minister of the Church of Christ, Sunnybank.
In April 1991, Mark was commissioned as an Army Reserve Chaplain and began Chaplaincy with an appointment as the Unit Chaplain to 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) and then to No. 6 Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR). Whilst posted to 2/14 LHR Mark won the Prince of Wales Award.
In October 1996 Mark resigned his commission with the Army to be appointed to the Permanent Air Force as Chaplain, and following Initial Officer Course was posted to RAAF Base Williamtown.
Postings saw Mark take his family to East Sale; Tindal; 1 Recruit Training Unit, Edinburgh; Butterworth in Malaysia; Williamtown; Williams; Canberra; Glenbrook as Director Chaplaincy – Air Command, and to the Command Chaplain position within Joint Health Command located in Canberra.
Between 2003 and 2016, Mark deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) on Operation Catalyst; Phuket, Thailand for Operation Tsunami Assist; Kandahar, Afghanistan on Operation Slipper; to Operation Pakistan Assist II; MEAO on Operation Slipper as the Senior Theatre Chaplain; and on Operation Okra in support of the Air Task Group.
In December 2017 Mark was advanced to Principal Air Chaplain and appointed Director General Chaplaincy – Air Force (DGCHAP-AF).
He and his wife Lisa have three children, two in-laws—a son & a daughter—and four grand-daughters. His sporting and leisure interests include squash, chess, travel, 500, reading, and Sudoku.
Despite all of the above, Mark has many failings, but above all, he is a walking, talking, living, breathing testament to the grace of the God who loves him, constantly forgives him, and continually uses him to be a blessing to others.