Francis Ogolla Biography: Age, Cause Of Death, Tribe, Hometown, Education, Military Career, Wife And Children

Francis Ogolla Biography

General Francis Omondi Ogolla was a distinguished Kenyan military officer who served as the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) from April 2023 until his untimely death in April 2024.

Born on February 12, 1962, in Nyanza Province, Kenya, he had a long and decorated career in the military, joining the Kenya Defence Forces in 1984 as a 2nd lieutenant in the Kenyan Air Force.

He received training as a fighter pilot with the US Air Force and climbed the ranks to become the Commander of the Kenya Air Force in 2018. Later, he was appointed Vice Chief of Defence Forces before taking on the role of CDF after the retirement of General Robert Kariuki Kibochi.

Tragically, General Ogolla died in a helicopter crash on April 18, 2024, in Sindar, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, Kenya. The crash also claimed the lives of nine other military personnel, while two were injured.

Francis Ogolla Age

Francis Ogolla was 62 years old when he passed away.

Francis Ogolla Hometown

General Francis Omondi Ogolla hailed from Nyanza Province, which is today part of Siaya County, Kenya.

Francis Ogolla Early Life and Education

Francis Omondi Ogolla was born on February 12, 1962 in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Ogolla’s educational journey began at the local primary school, where he distinguished himself as a diligent and bright student.

Upon completing his secondary education with impressive results, Ogolla pursued further studies at Egerton University. Here, he delved into the intricacies of military science and leadership, laying the groundwork for his future roles in the Kenya Defence Forces.

Ogolla’s quest for knowledge and excellence did not stop at the national level. He was awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious École Militaire de Paris, where he expanded his horizons and interacted with fellow military minds from around the globe.

General Ogolla was a graduate of the École Militaire de Paris, the National Defence College of Kenya, Egerton University, and the University of Nairobi. He was honored with several awards, including the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (EGH) and Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS).

Francis Ogolla Career

General Francis Omondi Ogolla’s military career began in 1984 when he joined the Kenya Defence Forces as a 2nd lieutenant in the Kenyan Air Force.

Ogolla’s commitment to his country took him to the United States, where he received training as a fighter pilot with the US Air Force. Upon returning to Kenya, his expertise as a pilot and instructor significantly contributed to the Kenya Air Force’s capabilities.

In 2018, Ogolla’s career reached a new height when he was appointed as the Commander of the Kenya Air Force.

The pinnacle of Ogolla’s career came when he was appointed Vice Chief of Defence Forces, a role in which he served with distinction.

April 2023 marked a historic moment for Ogolla as he was appointed the Chief of Defence Forces by President William Ruto, succeeding General Robert Kariuki Kibochi. His appointment was not without controversy, as it came amidst allegations of attempted influence in the 2022 general election. However, President Ruto defended Ogolla’s qualifications, solidifying his position as the head of the Kenya Defence Forces.

Positions Held by Francis Ogolla

Throughout his nearly four-decade-long service, General Ogolla held various positions in Training, Command, and Staff. These roles included Deputy Commander Kenya Air Force, Base Commander of Laikipia Air Base, Chief Flying Instructor at Kenya Air Force Flying Training School, and Operations Desk Officer at Kenya Air Force Headquarters.

Francis Ogolla Wife and Children

General Francis Ogolla was married to Aileen Ogolla. Together, they had two children, including a daughter named Lorna Omondi Ogolla. General Ogolla’s family was actively involved in various organizations, including the Military Christian Fellowship and the Military Wives Association of Kenya.

Francis Ogolla’s Death and Funeral

General Francis Omondi Ogolla, Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces, tragically died in a helicopter crash on April 18, 202, in Sindar, Elgeyo-Marakwet County. The accident occurred at 2:20 pm and resulted in the loss of nine other military personnel, while two were injured.

The aircraft, a Bell UH-1H Huey II operated by the 53 Tactical Helicopter Squadron of the Kenyan Air Force, was on a mission related to reopening schools in the North Rift region and inspecting soldiers involved in stabilization operations.

Following his death, President William Ruto declared three days of national mourning, beginning on April 19. Condolences were expressed by various national and international figures, including former president Uhuru Kenyatta, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and President of Somalia’s Jubaland State, Ahmed Mohamed Islam.

A memorial service for General Ogolla was held in Nairobi on April 20, followed by a state funeral in his hometown of Ngiya, Siaya County, on April 21. In a solemn ceremony at Ngiya village, leaders and family members laid him to rest. Notably, he was buried without a coffin and within 72 hours following his death, as per his wishes.

The funeral was attended by high-profile individuals, including Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, Defence CS Aden Duale, Interior PS Raymond Omollo, and First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto, among others. President Ruto and First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto laid a wreath during the burial ceremony, honoring General Ogolla’s distinguished life and decorated legacy.

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