Veterans Advisory Council
The Veterans Advisory Council (VAC) was established in April 2008 to promote the well-being of South Australian Veterans and to provide advice to the state government about matters concerning the Veteran community. The VAC is chaired by Brigadier Laurie Lewis AM (Retd), and comprises 16 members of the veteran community.
2019 Veterans Advisory Council Members. From left to right: CMDR Andrew Burnett, Mr Chris Tilley, Mr Ray Kemp, Mr Leon Eddy, Dr Paula Dabovich, Mrs Helen Meyer, Ms Karen May, The Premier, The Hon Steven Marshall MP, AIRCDRE Margot Foster, BRIG Laurie Lewis AM (Ret’d) (Chair), Mr Mal Thiele, Dr Sharon Mascall-Dare, GPCAPT Brendan Rogers CSC CSM, COL Chris Burns CSC and Mr Rob Manton (Executive Officer). Absent: LCDR John Godwin RANR, MAJ Sally Heidenreich, LTCOL John Holloway, Mr Frank Lampard OAM, Mr James (Jim) O’Hanlon, Ms Cheryl Cates
Brigadier Laurie Lewis AM (Retd)
Brigadier Lewis served for 32 years in the Australian Regular Army. During that time he saw active service as an infantry officer with the Royal Australian Regiment in Malaya and South Vietnam.
Brigadier Lewis subsequently became the General Manager of the Aged Care and Housing Group from 1984-1996, and was Chairman of the Repatriation General Hospital between 1993-2005.
Since 2006, Brigadier Lewis has been Chairman of the Consultative Council of Ex-Service Organisations which represents 26 ex-service organisations in South Australia.
Brigadier Lewis is also a Patron of the Royal Australian Regiment Association (SA Branch) Inc. and the Guards Association, Vice-Patron of the Association of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen and Women (SA Branch) Inc., Adviser to the War Widow’s Guild of Australia (S.A. Branch) Inc., a member of the Veterans’ Review Board and the Ministerial Advisory Board on Ageing.
In 2006, Brigadier Lewis was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to veterans as an administrator of aged care and health services, as an adviser to state and national ex-service welfare groups, and through support for charitable organisations.
Colonel Chris Burns CSC
Colonel Burns enlisted in the Australian Army as an apprentice electrician in 1975 and graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea in 1979.
A Royal Australian Armoured Corps officer, Colonel Burns has served in the 1st Armoured Regiment, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd/9th South Australian Mounted Rifles, and 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry). He has also served as an instructor at the First Recruit Training Battalion and the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
In 1988-89 he was seconded to the United Nations as a military observer in the Middle East. During this secondment he saw service on the Golan Heights in Syria, in Iran for the establishment of the ceasefire between Iran and Iraq and in the Gaza Strip during the ‘Palestinian Uprising’ or ‘Intifada’.
He was promoted to the rank of Colonel and appointed as the Director of Operations for the Australian Army in January 2002. In that appointment he was responsible for the strategic level planning and management of preparedness and operations involving Australian Army forces. This included significant operations in East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Solomon Islands. For his role in the planning and conduct of operations in Iraq he was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC).
Subsequent to this he was posted as the Australian Defence Attaché in Manila where he focussed on counter-terrorism operations in the Southern Philippines. In this role he was awarded the Legion of Honour by the Philippine Government.
Chris is currently South Australia’s Mental Health Commissioner, Honorary Colonel of 3rd/9th Light Horse, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management – SA, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Certified Professional Manager and the former Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Teaming Centre. Chris is a Director on the Legacy SA Board and is a member of the RSL.
Ms Cheryl Cates
Cheryl Cates enlisted into the Regular Army on 2nd May 1973. On completion of Recruit Training Cheryl’s initial employment was a clerk administrative, then as a member of the Transport Corps in the Movements Section.
Cheryl transferred to the Military Police School in a clerical role and in 1985 was transferred to the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps where she carried out multiple postings around Australia over the next 23 years.
On completion of her military service, Cheryl worked at the RSL National Headquarters in Canberra for 10 years and served on the Board of Directors of the Sir Leslie Morshead War Veterans’ Homes.
On moving to Adelaide, Cheryl was appointed to the RSL SA/NT State Branch Ethics Committee and has remained on that committee for 14 years.
Cheryl was President of the South Australian Women’s Football League for seven years and, with her husband, lobbied the AFL to introduce a National Women’s Competition.
In July 2019, Cheryl was elected as President, RSL SA/NT State Board. Cheryl is also on the Board of Directors of the RSL’s Avoca Hotel and RSL Care.
Dr Paula Dabovich
Dr Dabovich joined the Army in 1992 and is a Commissioned Graduate of the Royal Military College. Dr Dabovich completed a Bachelor of Nursing in 2004 and worked as a registered nurse at Sutherland Hospital NSW.
Dr Dabovich is currently a member of the Veterans’ Health Advisory Council. Dr Dabovich’s University of Adelaide PhD Thesis topic was: From Well to Wounded and Back Again: Identity and Agency in High Risk Highly Cohesive Soldier’s Undergoing Rehabilitation in the Australian Army.
The combination of military service, work as a nurse and study under the tutelage of the Director of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor Sandy McFarlane AO, gives Dr Dabovich a broad base of experience from which to draw upon when considering the needs of our veteran community.
Mr Leon Eddy
Mr Eddy volunteered for National Service. He served with 2RTB and the 9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. His active service was in South Vietnam, firstly as a scout with 4 Platoon and later as a Storeman/Driver in the Bravo Company Q store. He was promoted to Lance Corporal.
In 1970 Leon married Jeanette and they moved to Darwin where he joined the Public Service, where he worked until 1977, when he leased a Service Station. In 1980 Leon was part of the Foundation Committee for the Darwin Life Saving Club. Leon has many Lifesaving accreditations up to the level of Advanced Resuscitation Examiner. Leon has officiated as a Judge at three Australian Surf Life Savings Championships. He was President of Darwin Surf Life Saving Club 1982 – 1993 and was its first life member. In 1993 Leon joined Legacy. He cared for 6-8 widows until 1999. Leon went on to be the President of Legacy in the Northern Territory.
Leon and Jeanette (now with two adult sons) moved back to Adelaide in 2000. Leon joined the TPI Association in May 2000 and was soon elected a committee member and Treasurer, a position he held for eleven years. In 2009 Leon was granted Life Membership of TPI SA and was elected as State President in October, 2011. Leon is also a Federal Director of the TPI Association.
Air Commodore Margot Forster CSM
Margot joined the Defence Teaming Centre as Chief Executive Officer in December 2016 after a long and distinguished career in the Australian Defence Force.
Born in Adelaide, Margot joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in August 1982. On graduation from the RAN Naval College and completion of Supply Officer training, she undertook a number of Supply Officer roles ashore and at sea before transferring to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in late 1988.
Margot took a three year leave of absence from the RAAF in 1992 and worked as Senior Administrator with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Australian Embassy, Washington DC. In May 1995 she returned to the RAAF to work in Air Force Materiel Division.
Over the next ten years Margot specialised in organisational reform and design, and workforce transition, supporting a number of workforce reform projects including the Chief of Air Force’s Rebalance and Reshape Program. January 2007 saw Margot’s focus shift to combat support when she was appointed as the Base Commander RAAF Base Williams and Commanding Officer Combat Support Unit Williams, for which she was awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
In 2009, Margot joined Aerospace Operational Support Group as the Staff Officer Personnel, and later the Chief of Staff. Margot deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations in November 2010 as the Commanding Officer Combat Support Unit, Rotation 3. Her efforts on this deployment saw her awarded a Chief of Joint Operations Gold Commendation for ‘contribution to significant improvements to support for forces engaged in combat operations’. Other awards include commendations from the Chief of Air Force and Assistant Chief of Materiel – Air Force for her contribution to workforce reform and for project management.
In May 2012 Margot was promoted to Group Captain and appointed as Director, Pathway to Change. In this position she was responsible for coordination, reporting and oversight of Pathway to Change implementation within Air Force. Margot served in this role until January 2013 when she took up the position of Chief of Staff Air Force Personnel Branch. Margot is a graduate of the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (2015), with a Masters of Arts in Strategic Studies. Margot was promoted to the rank of Air Commodore and appointed to the post of Commandant, Australian Command and Staff College in December 2015 before retiring from the Air Force in December 2016 to take up the position of CEO of the Defence Teaming Centre.
Mr John Godwin
During his Royal Australian Navy career, John served as a Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer and spent most of his seagoing service in Anzac Class Frigates, including HMA Ships Arunta and Stuart, and an operational deployment to the Middle East in 2004 for which he received a Maritime Commander Australia Commendation as the boarding officer in HMAS Stuart.
John is currently General Manager Defence Support for Adelaide-based Nova Systems, reporting to the Chief Executive, Nova Systems Australia and a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
With Nova Systems since 2009, John has most recently been responsible for tendering, winning and delivering the complex and transformative Major Service Provider contract to Defence, a decade long engagement providing program and project services involving many hundreds of personnel through a consortium led by Nova as prime contractor, with PwC and QinetiQ, plus a large integrated supplier network including more than one hundred small and medium businesses.
John is a board member of The Road Home (Repat Foundation) Board of Governors and the South Australian Veterans’ Health Advisory Council (VHAC), which advises the South Australian Minister for Health and Wellbeing on veterans matters.
John is a member of the Naval Association of Australia, having previously served as the Vice President for the Port Adelaide sub section.
Major Sally Heidenreich
Sally Heidenreich was commissioned as an officer of the Australian Regular Army on 19 January 2001. On her graduation from Duntroon, Sally joined the Australian Intelligence Corps.
During her full-time career Sally deployed to Iraq in 2005/6 as the Information Operations officer with the second Al-Muthanna Task Group, and to Iraq a second time in 2008 in an independent counterintelligence role, from where she was later redeployed to Afghanistan. In 2009/10 Sally deployed again to Afghanistan as the Officer-in-Charge of the Fusion and Targeting Cell with the ninth rotation of the Special Operations Task Group, in which role she was responsible for the dynamic prosecution of insurgent targets.
Sally transferred to the Army Reserves in 2011 and embarked on an undergraduate Law degree at the University of Adelaide. In 2013 Sally completed part of her degree at the Chuo University Graduate School of Law in Tokyo as the recipient of a Prime Minister’s Endeavour Award, studying the impact of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution – the “Renunciation of War” clause – on Australia-Japan bilateral security relations.
In 2014 Sally deployed on Operation Southern Indian Ocean as the Liaison Officer and interpreter for the Japanese P-3 contingent assisting with the maritime search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370.
Sally is now a practising barrister.
Sally has completed the South Australian Governor’s Leadership Foundation program. Following her military career, this program gave Sally an excellent opportunity to deepen her understanding of a broad variety of social issues impacting our State.
In 2015 Sally completed the 56km Yurrebilla ultra-marathon to raise funds for Soldier On. With respect to veterans’ issues, an area of particular interest for Sally lies with the mental health of contemporary veterans and especially the obstacles and challenges faced by contemporary veterans leaving the military to resume civilian life.
Sally is married to Alex, a former Special Air Service Regiment officer turned cyber security entrepreneur. Her two step-children are Macy, 11, and Nicholas, 8. Sally enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, Japanese language and travel.
Mr Ray Kemp
Mr Kemp is the State President of the Submarine Association of Australia and its National Advocate and Wellbeing Coordinator.
Ray is also one of 3 state Vice Presidents of the Naval Association of Australia and have been since September 2014 and is the State Advocate and Wellbeing Coordinator
Ray served on the Veteran Advisory Council of South Australia (VAC) from January 2015 until December 2017
Ray served for twenty years in the Royal Australian Navy, most of this time as a submariner. Ray received an Australian Service Medal for Special Operations before retiring with the rank of Chief Petty Officer in 1993.
Ray then worked at the Australian Submarine Corporation from 1993 until his retirement in 2010.
Since retirement Ray has trained an Advocate for Veterans advocacy services and reached Level 3 Advocacy Training and Development (ATDP). Ray is a senior mentor on Regional Management Group 3 (RIG3). Ray was made a Justice of the Peace for South Australia in May 2015.
His other hobby is helping his wife Robyn train Poppy, a Black Labrador for the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB).
Mr Frank Lampard OAM
Mr Lampard is an Aboriginal Elder of Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna descent.
In his work life, he was a school teacher for more than 30 years, before holding several senior roles in the Public Service, including that of the Acting Chief Executive of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Later he took up roles in the NGO Sector such as the Executive Director of the Aboriginal Prisoners and Offenders Support Services Incorporated.
He has also served on several advisory government and NGO bodies and is currently Co-Chair of Aboriginal Veterans SA. He also once held the post of Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Committee.
Mr Lampard has received numerous awards and recognition, including an Order of Australia Medal and the National NAIDOC Elder of the Year Award.
Whilst passionate about retaining Aboriginal languages and culture in schools and the tertiary sector, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to the wellbeing and prosperity of Aboriginal people in SA with a particular interest in the Aboriginal Veteran sector.
Mr Lampard was a national servicemen from 1967-69 and served in the Australian Army as a medic with 2 Field Ambulance at Albert Park and Victoria Barracks in Melbourne.
Dr Sharon Mascall-Dare
Dr Sharon Mascall-Dare is a Military Public Affairs Officer in the Australian Army Reserve with an established track record as a journalist and communications strategist specialising in veterans’ affairs and the commemoration of Anzac Day.
Sharon holds an MA in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from City University in London and a PhD in Communication from the University of South Australia. Her doctoral thesis examined journalistic practices among Anzac Day reporters and advocates accuracy, originality and ethical conduct through the publication of the Anzac Day Media Style Guides.
In 2015, Sharon was nominated on the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll in recognition of her services to the media and journalism education, in particular her coverage of Indigenous Affairs and the Anzac Centenary. She continues to be actively involved in communicating the significance and relevance of the Anzac Centenary through her work as an Army Officer, journalist and member of the Veterans’ Advisory Council.
As a Public Affairs Officer, Sharon deployed to Iraq from 2016-17 where she contributed to media coverage of Task Group Taji and the Battle of Mosul.
Today, Sharon is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of South Australia, where she continues to be involved in research programs to improve media coverage of veterans’ experiences and responsible reporting of PTS.
Ms Karen May
Karen May is the partner of a veteran and is also an advocate through her work as Executive General Manger of The Road Home for further research and programs to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for current and ex-serving veterans, emergency services and their families.
As the major philanthropic funder of independent research in this area in Australia, The Road Home convenes the new PTSD research partnerships hub to create a centre of excellence at the new Jamie Larcombe Centre.
Prior to work with the Road Home, Karen’s career has been working predominantly in the Social justice / Not-for-profit sector working to develop organisations from fundraising brand and performance to best practice, high impact service provision.
Karen’s major posts in recent years have been with Can Do Group Charities, Connecting Up, and Birthing Kit Foundation Australia. Early in her career, before returning to Adelaide, Karen pursued community development, social impact measurement, crime prevention and sustainability projects in the Philippines and major cities in Australia.
Karen also enjoys a busy family life with her partner Mark, a veteran peer leader with injuries from his 16 years in the Australian Army and together they raise their 4 kids, 15 to 7 years old.
Mrs Helen Meyer
Helen served in the Australian Regular Army from 1963 to 1966. It was the period when women were forced to leave the Forces if they married. She married a soldier from the Armoured Corps, and went on to a career in the administrative side of the Insurance Industry, eventually running her own training and consulting company within that industry.
Over the decades, Helen and her husband experienced huge difficulties with his inability to fit back into civilian life and his terrible mood swings. This was eventually recognised to be a severe form of PTSD. He served in Vietnam.
Helen is one of the founding members of The Partners of Veterans’ Association, SA Branch, and served on their Board for many years. She was a Board member, Grants Officer, and Language teacher for The University of The Third Age, Tea Tree Gully; a Volunteer at The Army Museum of South Australia; and Consultant for the book ‘Lady Soldiers’ by Lyn Kane Dale.
In her late 60s, Helen completed media training and became the Producer of The Legacy Hour at Radio Adelaide. She is currently Producer of Service Voices, a radio program that depicts news, views, perspectives and memories from the veteran, service, volunteer and defence communities.
Helen was presented with a ‘Woman of Achievement’ award at Adelaide Town Hall in 2014 for her service to community, recognising her involvement in many aspects of a variety of organisations. Helen is a named nominee on the SA Women’s Roll of Honour 2015. She is a delegate to the South Australian Scottish Association, and a current Board member of The War Widows Guild of Aust SA Branch. Helen serves on the Programming Committee at Radio Adelaide, reviewing existing radio programs and assessing new programs.
Mr James O’Hanlon
James Terence O’Hanlon was born in Sydney and educated at Windsor High School.
James has held a range of regimental and instructional appointments culminating at the rank of Major. These include instructor appointments at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the 4th/3rd Battalion, The Royal New South Wales Regiment; and regimental appointments as a Company 2IC and Operations Captain of 1RAR. He was appointed Senior Military Recruiting Officer at Defence Force Recruiting-Newcastle and Executive Officer of Australia’s Federation Guard during 2010-2012. Posted to 7 RAR in South Australia in 2013, he achieved company command of Alpha Company and was the Chief of Staff in 2014. He transitioned to the Army Reserve in early 2015 and currently serves with Adelaide Universities Regiment as the Deputy Chief Instructor and Second-in-Command.
In 1994 he deployed to Rwanda with ASC UNAMIR as a Rifleman in Alpha Company 2/4RAR. Between 1999 and 2007 he deployed to East Timor on separate INTERFET, UNTAET, UNMISET and UNMIT missions with 1RAR and 2RAR in a variety of regimental positions as both an Officer and NCO. In 2009 he deployed to Afghanistan with OMLT-C, MRTF-2 as an Afghan National Army combat advisor and mentor. For his service and leadership in action as a Team Leader of OMLT-C MRTF-2, Major O’Hanlon was awarded the CJTF 633 Silver Commendation in December 2009. He has participated in numerous exchange and training deployments to Germany, France, Malaysia, Brunei and the United States of America.
James separated from the permanent forces in early 2015 to better balance his work, family and lifestyle. He is the Director and Principal of Heterodox Solutions which is a small management consultancy firm, and a preferred KPMG Contractor to Defence.
James is a member of the RSL, the Royal Australian Regiment Association (SA) and recently volunteered to chair the Defence Consultative Group to support veteran’s interests and representation to the South Australian Government.
Mr Malcolm Thiele JP
Mr Malcolm Thiele served for 22 years in the RAAF. During that time, he saw active service in South Vietnam.
During his time in the RAAF he served at many bases all around Australia and in Malaysia, beginning his service as an apprentice and ending his career as a Warrant Officer in the Health Services. During his service he developed a training course for new clerical staff, developed a syllabus and trained these staff. He was posted to the Directorate General of Air Force Health Services where he developed service wide policies to manage health administration throughout the RAAF.
Upon discharge in 1986 he joined the S.A. public service as a Health Information Manager and oversaw the closure and the merging of all paper and electronic records of Glenside Hospital and the records of the closing Hillcrest Hospital he was also involved with the formation of the South Australian Mental Health Service (SAMHS) and policy development for health information management and the further devolvement of Mental Health Service into the community and public hospitals. He was also an active member of the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) and coordinated sponsorships and organisation of annual national conferences for this Association, not only in Adelaide, but interstate. He retired from the Public service in 2009.
He is an active member of the Royal Association of Justices South Australia (RAJSA) and has been for some fifteen years.
He joined the Vietnam Veterans Federation in 2012 and served on the committee then assumed the role of Vice President and subsequently elected as President in 2014. He is also Vice President of the National Office of the Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia.
Mr Chris Tilley
Mr Tilley served in the Royal Australian Army from 2004 until 2012 as a Private in the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment and Australia’s Federation Guard where he was awarded the Soldier’s Medallion for exemplary service for significant contributions to his unit. He saw service on Operation Astute in East Timor in 2006, East Timor once again in 2007 and Operation Slipper in Afghanistan in 2008.
On discharge Mr Tilley was employed by the Department for Correctional Services SA as a Custodial Officer. He currently runs a program for the rehabilitation of Ex-military members serving prison sentences. This program provides links to support services, encourages pride of service and the readoption of the military identity and community.
Both Chris and his wife Jemma have spent most of their lives residing in South Australia with the exception of time spent in the Australian Defence Force. Jemma was the bookings officer and tour guide at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra whilst Chris was based there and she continues to do ANZAC and Remembrance Day presentations at local schools.
Mr Tilley is a member of the RSL and the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment Association.
Commander Andrew Burnett ADC RAN
CMDR Andrew Burnett ADC RAN has served in the Royal Australian Navy for 37 years, as a sailor and officer, and as a reserve and permanent member. He commenced as the Commanding Officer Navy Headquarter South Australia on 15 December 2016.
Commander Burnett joined Navy Headquarters South Australia after a seven month deployment to Afghanistan as the Chief of Operations and Humanitarian Law for NATO in the Operation Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul.
Prior to the deployment Commander Burnett was the Chief Legal adviser to the Chief of Navy from February 2013 to December 2015 and before that he was the Command Legal Adviser to the Commander Border Protection Command, as it was then known, from December 2010 to February 2013.
Commander Burnett is qualified as both a Maritime Logistics Officer and a Navy Legal Officer. He has a Masters in International Laws.
Both Commander Burnett and his wife Susan are parochial South Australians.
Lieutenant Colonel John Holloway
Lieutenant Colonel Holloway was born in Blaxland, NSW on 11 January 1981. He graduated from the Royal Military College – Duntroon to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps in June 2001. He has completed regimental postings to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment as a Troop Leader, Adjutant and Squadron Commander, and B Squadron 3rd / 4th Cavalry Regiment as a Troop Leader and Squadron Second in Command.
Lieutenant Colonel Holloway has fulfilled a number of staff and training appointments. In 2007 he was posted to Duntroon as an instructor, and in 2009 fulfilled a staff officer posting to Headquarters Joint Operations Command. Lieutenant Colonel Holloway was posted to the Directorate of Officer Career Management in 2014 as the Career Advisor to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps and Australian Army Legal Corps. Following this he completed two years in Army Headquarters with the Directorate of Capability Plans – Army.
Lieutenant Colonel Holloway was deployed on operational service in 2002 as part of Operation RELEX, and again in 2004 to Iraq as part of Operation CATALYST. In 2006 Lieutenant Colonel Holloway was deployed to Timor Leste with B Sqn 3rd / 4th Cavalry Regiment as a Squadron Second in Command. Most recently he was deployed to Operation HIGHROAD as on the multinational Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul in 2015.
Lieutenant Colonel Holloway is a 2013 graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College. He holds the academic qualifications a Master of Military and Defence Studies from the Australian National University. He also holds a Masters of Business, and a Graduate Certificate of Personnel Management from the University of New South Wales. Lieutenant Colonel Holloway completed the USMC Expeditionary Warfare Course – Quantico in 2011.
Lieutenant Colonel Holloway is currently posted as the Commanding Officer 1st Armoured Regiment. He is married to Justine and has two children, Anna born in 2013, and Frederick born in 2016. An avid swimmer, he also enjoys soccer and mountain biking.
Group Captain Brendan Rogers CSC CSM
GPCAPT Brendan ‘Buck’ Rogers joined the RAAF in 1987 through the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. He undertook pilot training at Point Cook and Pearce, gaining his Wings in 1991 to fly MB 326H Macchi jet trainers before completing P 3C Orion operational conversion at RAAF Edinburgh. He went on to accrue over 4,500 flying hours.
His operational experience span a wide variety of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and electronic warfare missions including regional crises in the South West Pacific and active service during the Timor and Iraq campaigns. GPCAPT Rogers has completed two tours of the Middle East, first in 2005 as the Australian Maritime ISR Liaison Officer to US Navy Maritime Patrol HQ in Bahrain, and in 2016/17 as Commander of Task Unit 630.1 for the conduct of Strike, Command and Control and air re-fuelling air operations in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Okra.
His staff roles include service at Joint Operations Command and Air Command. There he planned domestic security operations spanning Counter-Terrorism, Emergency Management and Surveillance and Response operations. As Director Operations and Plans at Headquarters Air Command, he completed structural reform of Air Command planning processes for air operations and training.
GPCAPT Rogers has had extensive involvement in RAAF airborne electronic warfare capabilities, completing several tours on acceptance test and evaluation activities in the USA before leading deployment of these new capabilities on joint operations and exercises.
GPCAPT Rogers was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2014 for outstanding achievement in the delivery of airborne Electronic Warfare Capability for the RAAF. His achievements in command during Operation Okra was recognised through the award of a Conspicuous Service Medal in 2018. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma of Management in Defence Studies. GPCAPT Rogers is married to Sarah and has three school-age children in Adelaide. He assumed his current role as Chief of Staff to the Air Warfare Centre at RAAF Edinburgh in April 2017.