Manuel Fernando Rafael Martins, (57), Portuguese Air Force Pilot, born in Sardoal, Santarém, on July 31, 1961, was promoted to Lieutenant General on November 24, 2017 and completes 40 years of active duty in the first quarter of 2019.
Joined the Air Force in January 1979 and the Military Academy in November 1980.
In 1985, he graduated in Military Aeronautical Sciences at the Air Force Academy, completing his Flight Training Course in the same year, at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, USA.
Upon returning from the USA, was assigned to Air Force Base (AFB) 5, in Monte Real, Leiria, where he remained until 1992. Following the Complementary Course in Combat Aircraft, he became an operational pilot of the A-7P Corsair in 302 Squadron, Falcões.
In 1992/1993 attended the General Air Warfare Course, and was assigned to the Air Force Academy (AFA), at the Office for Studies and Planning of the Studies Directorate, and teacher of the Aeronautical Pilots Degree Course.
In 1996, was reassigned to AFB 5 as Commander of the 304 Fihter Squadron, Magnificos.
In 1997, has achieved the Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Lisbon University – Institute of Social and Political Sciences.
From 1998 to 2002 went on a commission to the NAEW&CF (Airborne Early Warning and Control System), in Geilenkirchen, Germany, becoming Captain of B-707 and participated in several NATO operations, namely Allied Force and Enduring Freedom.
In 2002 he took over as Chief of Flight Safety and Aircraft Accidents Prevention and Investigation at the
Portuguese Air Force General Inspection, and represented Portugal at the Air Forces Flight Safety Committee (Europe) – AFFSC (E).
In 2006 he was posted to the Institute of Higher Military Studies (IESM) as Course Director of the Field
Grade Air Force Officer Courses.
From October 2008 to October 2009, he was the Commander of Beja Air Force Base.
From October 2009 to November 2010 became Inspector for Department of Operations at the Air Force General Inspection.
Attended the Flag Officers Course at IESM, in the academic year 2010/2011, and became the Coordinator of the Department for Military Operations at IESM from 2011-2012.
From 2012-2013 he served as Deputy Commander at the Air Force Academy and Director of the Centre for Aeronautical Studies and the Basic Command Courses.
From January 2, 2014 until October 2016, Major General Rafael Martins, was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Portuguese Air Force and Head of Office at the National Aviation Authority.
From October 2016, until November 2017, he became the Air Force Academy Commander.
Took over as Air Force Commander for Human Resources from 04 December 2017 until 14 March 18, 2019.
In January 2018 was designated, by presidential decree, Secretary of the National Defense Superior Council.
He is the Commander of Instituto Universitário Militar since 15 March 2019.
Lieutenant General Rafael Martins has more than 3750 flying hours, received several awards and decorations, such as Medals for Distinguished Services, Merit Medal for Military and National Defense, Portuguese Aeronautical Merit Medal, Brazilian Aeronautical Merit Medal, and NATO decorations resulting from his participation in military air campaigns.
He is married with Esmeralda Martins, and father of Miguel and Laura.
Reference Date: 15/03/2019