Originally a National Serviceman, Rod went on to serve for thirty-one years in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps, and later the Staff Corps, of the Regular Army. During this time he filled a variety of command, instructional and staff appointments.
These appointments included active service in South Vietnam, two postings in Papua New Guinea, three years as the instructor in military history at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and attendance at the Malaysian Armed Forces Command and Staff College. In1989 and 1990 Rod commanded the army’s mechanised infantry battalion, the 5th/7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, before a three year posting with the United States Marine Corps.
His broad military experience provided excellent opportunities to further develop a lifelong interest in military history. As a rifle platoon commander in the Pacific Islands Regiment Rod patrolled extensively through the World War II Australian area of operations along the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Presenting the military history program at Duntroon involved the research and conduct of a range of campaign presentations to support tactical studies. As the Australian exchange student at the Malaysian Staff College Rod prepared and conducted detailed presentations on the site of actions involving the 8th Australian Division during the Malayan campaign of 1941-42.
During his time with the Marines, based at Quantico, Virginia, Rod lectured both at the Marine Corps University and the Amphibious Warfare School on various Australian military campaigns, including Gallipoli. He accompanied the annual European battlefield tour conducted by the university, presenting explanations of the Australian experience on the Western Front. These trips also provided the opportunity to study the Dieppe and Normandy battlefields in detail. Quantico’s location in Northern Virginia, central to the main American Civil War theatre, provided the opportunity to conduct tours of the Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania battlefields for Australian visitors to the base.
In 2011 Rod spent a month in Vietnam, visiting the former DMZ, Khe Sanh, the Central Highlands operational areas of Kon Tum, Dak To and Pleiku, and the Australian area of operations in the south.
Now retired, Rod’s interest is in helping others to understand and appreciate Australia’s rich military history.