On Friday 24th June in a ceremony in the Australian capital, Canberra, Lieutenant General David Morrison assumed leadership of the Australian Army. He took over from Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie who has given 43 years of service after joining the forces as an apprentice at 15.
Lieutenant General Gillespie expressed his pride in the institution which has been under his command since 2008:
“As I hand over command of this wonderful institution, I want to say that it has been an honour serving with you and a unique privilege to lead the talented men and women, military and civilian, of the Army.
“I have no doubt at all, that we do have the best small Army in the world, we enjoy great international standing and respect.”
The senior officer, who turns 59 on 28th June 2011, has served in East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan.
His successor took the opportunity to thank LTGEN Gillespie for his service. He also addressed the family of the Chief of Army to congratulate them on their support and on receiving the husband and father back with the thanks of the Army. LTGEN Morrison refused to talk about the direction his leadership will take, instead saying “Today is about marking the handover of command, the passing of the mantle of Chief of the Army from one soldier to another”.
The parade was attended by current Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston; the incoming Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General David Hurley; Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin; Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs and New Zealand Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Richard Rhys Jones.