Care-bear Campbell’s not very good start

The good news is that Vice Admiral Ray Griggs will not become Chief of the Defence Force (CDF).

The bad news is that the new CDF has managed to get the entire Army offside within hours of being given the nod for the top job.

First the good news.

On Monday, Malcolm Turnbull announced that the next CDF will be Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, the current Chief of Army.

This is how the Sydney Morning Herald covered the announcement:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promoted the former head of Tony Abbott’s hardline anti-people smuggling program, Operation Sovereign Borders, to lead the Australian Defence Force as part of sweeping changes to the nation’s top brass.

Mr Turnbull named Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell, known widely as the inscrutable face of the secretive asylum seeker turn-back operation in 2013, the new Chief of the Defence Force from July…

…His elevation headlined a series of other promotions and retirements among the country’s military leadership, although, noticeably, there were no women placed in the most senior roles…

…The current number two, Vice-Chief of Defence Force, Vice-Admiral Ray Griggs, who has been the subject of salacious gossip and media attention over his private life, was overlooked for promotion. He will wind up his term in July.

Insiders denied that Admiral Griggs had been demoted in the shake-up, arguing simply that his current term as Vice-Chief of the Defence was merely coming to an end.

However, it is understood that recent attention on the collapse of his marriage, following an alleged affair with a more junior officer, had damaged his chances.

A couple of points here.

Firstly, it seems that the Sydney Morning Herald believes gender should play a role in the promotions of our senior military officers. How un-PC of them in this post-gender world.

Secondly, I have no idea whether the attention Griggs received on this webpage and in other media had any impact on this decision. Regardless, this webpage maintains that Griggs was entirely unsuitable to be CDF after he put his own personal interests and desires ahead of the welfare of those he commanded.

It’s impossible to maintain morale, discipline and effective command if a subordinate cannot trust his boss to act with integrity around his wife.

And that’s where we’ll leave it on Griggs.

Now to the bad news.

I was planning to write this piece a few days ago but was side-tracked by other pressing events, such as a High Court ruling. This is what I would have written if I had not been otherwise engaged:

Although I have written about Angus Campbell’s PC support in the past (for instance his call for more females in the infantry and his support of the pro-abortion lobby group White Ribbon), Campbell is still a far better choice than Griggs.

I hold little hope that Campbell will stop the rot, but at least he is unlikely to go running down the street in high heels like the former Chief of Army, David Morrison.

But I can’t write that anymore.

Within hours of being named the new Head Honcho, Campbell issued a directive banning unit symbols that depict mean and nasty things like the Grim Reaper (see the letter below). So it’s entirely possible that he may follow in Morrison’s footsteps while wearing stilettos.

Apparently, Campbell thinks such imagery is unnecessary in a professional Army. Like this one:


The 2/6 Cavalry Commando Regiment liked to put skulls and cross bones on their unit flags. And to (gasp) drink beer in front of it.

The image above was taken in New Guinea in 1945 after our Army had participated in winning the Second World War. Back then we won the big wars. And soldiers were also allowed to drink beer. In uniform. And out field.

Today, our soldiers are expressing themselves in other ways. On Facebook. Using Care Bears to make a point about their new boss.

This is just one of many images now flooding the ‘Digger Net’:

4 Pl 2 RAR

In fact, there is nothing I can say here that has not already been said better by those on the ground. So I’ll just refer you to the best of it.

There’s the blunt and truthful humour of the Digger:

Morrison Campbell

And there’s the From-the-Heart message of one who has been there and done that:

And there’s the keen-eyed and brutal take down from soldiers who can smell hypocrisy a mile away:

For those who may not understand the above image, it appears to show our new Chief of Defence Force leaving a military helicopter adorned with the image of the Grim Reaper…

…but some have pointed out that it is far more likely that he was departing the scene after coming into contact with the offending imagery.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of eight children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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