Rear Admiral David John Campbell

Deputy Chief of Navy (1994-1995)

RADM David John Campbell

David John Campbell was born in Brisbane in 1945 and joined the Navy as a 15-year-old. He graduated from the Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay, as the Queen's Medallist. After fleet experience in HMA Ships Anzac,Vampire and em>Melbourne during Confrontation, he took part in the first RAN/USN Midshipmens' exchange program, serving in USS Essex. This was followed by further training at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and Sub Lieutenants' specialist courses in the Portsmouth area.

Postings as a junior officer ashore and afloat, at home and abroad, followed. He served in the training establishment HMAS Cerberus at Fleet Headquarters; in HMAS Hobart during the Vietnam War; and in HMAS Supply. He was then appointed to the RAN College, HMAS Creswell, before joining the staff of the Australian Naval Attaché in Washington. While in the USA he undertook advanced logistics training with the Virginia Institute of Technology and, upon his return to Australia in 1976 served as the inaugural Integrated Logistics Support Director in the Naval Materiel Division. His next appointment was to the Directorate of Naval Officers’ Postings in Naval Personnel.

Promoted to Commander in 1979, he was seconded as Military Secretary and Comptroller to the Governor-General for three and a half years. He then became the first Director of Naval Supply Research and attended the Australian Joint Services Staff College. This was followed by a posting to the Flagship HMAS Stalwart as Secretary to the Fleet Commander. In 1985 he was promoted to Captain and appointed as Secretary to the Chief of Naval Staff at Navy Office in Canberra. He was promoted to Commodore in December 1988.

For the next three years he served as the Naval Attaché in Washington, a position that included command of HMAS Waratah; and as Naval Adviser to the High Commissioner, Ottawa; and to the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. Largely in recognition of that service (which spanned the Iraq War), he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia. This posting was followed by two years as the Director-General Intelligence Operations in the Defence Intelligence Organisation, Canberra.

Rear Admiral Campbell was promoted to flag rank in 1993 and appointed Deputy Chief of Naval Staff - the Navy's general manager and chief operating officer. He became the Naval Support Commander in July 1995 and in that capacity was responsible for the Navy's shore establishments, administrative and logistics infrastructure, and repair and refit of the fleet. In May 1997 he was appointed as the inaugural Head of Strategic Logistics in the Australian Defence Headquarters in Canberra, but he resigned shortly afterwards in order to pursue a second career in business. Somehow, he seemed to specialise in being a generalist, having served ashore and afloat variously in supply, personnel, secretariat, materiel, intelligence, administration and command - and then in industry and commerce.

RADM Campbell returns a salute in the presence of his wife at the end of his tenure as the Naval Support Commander in May 1997.
RADM Campbell returns a salute in the presence of his wife at the end of his tenure as the Naval Support Commander in May 1997.

He worked with KBR and QinetiQ for twelve years which enabled him to see even more of the world, albeit mostly from 35,000 feet.

He had attended the National and International Security Program at Harvard University in 1991 and the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. He was a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Institute of Management and of many professional societies. He served on boards as diverse as those of the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Australian Naval Institute and the NSW Australia Day Regatta.

His interests include fly fishing, reading and writing history, the performing arts and playing the cello. In retirement he found himself on a dozen or so not-for-profit boards, committees and councils. He said the worst thing about retirement is that you never get a day off. Nevertheless, he enjoys Sunday mornings and old dogs.

David married the former Kaye Blackband in 1968 and who died in 2007. They have two children, Penny and Tavis, and two grandchildren, Elliot and Emma.