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New Chief of Army appointed


Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Defence

20 February 2013
Media statement

New Chief of Army appointed

Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says the new Chief of Army will be Major General Dave Gawn.

“Major General Gawn is currently the Commander of Joint Forces HQ and has exhibited the strategic and leadership characteristics required to be appointed to lead the Army, said Dr Coleman.

The post of Chief of Army became vacant when Major General Tim Keating was appointed Vice Chief of Defence in December.

Major General Gawn enlisted into the New Zealand Army in August 1978 and was posted to the 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (2/1 RNZIR). He undertook initial officer training at the Officer Cadet School in Portsea, Australia.

In December 1981, he was posted to the 1st Battalion RNZIR, Singapore as a Platoon Commander in Charlie Company and then as the Reconnaissance Platoon Commander.

In May 1984, Major General Gawn returned to New Zealand and was posted as the Staff Officer Air and Special Duties at Headquarters Army Training Group, Waiouru. He was promoted to Captain in January 1987.

In December 1990, he was posted as the New Zealand Instructor at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. Major General Gawn returned to New Zealand in December 1992 to the 1st Battalion RNZIR at Linton Camp as a Company Commander. In September 1994 he was posted to the UN Protection Force Mission (UNPROFOR) as the Officer Commanding Kiwi Company based at Santici Camp, Bosnia.

He was soon posted to the United States to attend Staff College at Leavenworth and was then selected to attend the School of Advanced Warfighting at Quantico, Virginia.

He returned to New Zealand in June 1997 and assumed the appointment as an Instructor, Tactical School, Waiouru. In January 1998 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

In July 2000 Major General Gawn was posted to the New Zealand United Nations Transitional Administration (UNTAET) as the Commanding Officer, the 3rd New Zealand Battalion Group, East Timor. He returned to New Zealand in May 2001 and assumed the appointment of Joint Staff Officer Grade One Doctrine and Evaluation (J8), Joint Force Headquarters, Upper Hutt.

In January 2005 he commenced study at the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies. After completion of this course in December 2005 he was appointed as Commander 3rd Land Force Group, Burnham Military Camp. Two years later he was promoted to Brigadier and became the Land Component Commander within Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand.

In 2010, Major General Gawn assumed the position of Deputy Chief of Army, and in April 2011 was promoted to his current rank and assumed his current position of Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.

Major General Gawn was awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1996 New Year’s Honours List. In May 2001, Major General Gawn received a Force Commander’s Commendation for his role in East Timor.

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