Rodney Taylor

Vice Admiral Rodney Graham Taylor, AO (11 June 1940 – 1 September 2002) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy, serving as Chief of Navy from 1994 to 1997. Born in Queensland, Taylor entered the Royal Australian Naval College at the age of thirteen. Graduating as dux of his year in 1957, he later specialised in navigation and served during the Vietnam War. Commanding HMAS Vampire as well as HMAS Torrens, Taylor planned and coordinated the deployment of Australian ships during the Gulf War. Retiring from the navy in 1997, Taylor died from lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 62.

Rodney Graham Taylor
Nickname(s)"Rocket Rod"
Born11 June 1940
Toowoomba, Queensland
Died1 September 2002 (aged 62)
Wamboin, New South Wales
AllegianceAustralia
Service/branchRoyal Australian Navy
Years of service1954–1997
RankVice Admiral
Commands heldChief of Navy (1994–97)
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (1991–94)
HMAS Torrens
Third Australian Destroyer Squadron
HMAS Vampire (1979–80)
Battles/warsVietnam War
Gulf War
AwardsOfficer of the Order of Australia
Mentioned in Despatches
Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) (Singapore)

Early life

Taylor was born in the Queensland town of Toowoomba on 11 June 1940, the second son of Len and Vera Taylor. In 1954, Taylor joined the Royal Australian Naval College at the land base HMAS Cerberus; he was one of the last officers to enlist in the Royal Australian Navy as a thirteen-year-old. During his time at the college, Taylor excelled academically as well as in cricket and rugby.[1][2][3]

Naval career

Early service

In December 1957, Taylor graduated from the Royal Australian Naval College and was awarded the Queen’s Medal as dux of his year as well as the Grand Aggregate Prize, and was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy. Completing a period of training at sea aboard HMAS Swan, Taylor was posted to England for further instruction at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, from which he graduated in 1959.[1][2]

Returning to Australia, Taylor joined HMAS Quiberon. While on board the ship, he decided to specialise in navigation. Described as "meticulous and deliberate" with "self-confidence",[2][3] on one occasion Taylor, realising that the fleet would be approximately two hours late arriving at Sydney Heads, on his own initiative signalled the Fleet Navigator from Quiberon who promptly adjusted the time of arrival.[3] Later posted aboard HMAS Anzac, Taylor met Judy Smith, a Melbourne-born Qantas air hostess, in 1963; the couple married the following year, and were later to have a son named Sean.[2]

Following his wedding, Taylor proceeded to England in order to complete a long navigation course. On finishing this stint, he was allocated as navigator of the Royal Navy's 7th Mine Countermeasures Squadron based on Malta. During 1967, Taylor, by now holding the rank of lieutenant commander, was posted to the United States to serve as the commissioning navigator and operations officer of the destroyer HMAS Brisbane.[2][3] During his service on Brisbane, the ship was deployed to assist in operations off Vietnam in March 1969. Brisbane's stint during the Vietnam War was to last seven months, for which Taylor was to receive a Mention in Despatches for his performance.[1][4][5]

Posted back to Australia, Taylor was appointed to the staff of the Naval College at HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay. Early in 1972, Taylor was returned to Britain in order to complete the advanced navigation course at HMS Dryad. Finalising his instruction later that year, Taylor was appointed navigator aboard HMAS Sydney, which was then engaged in logistic support of Australian forces in Vietnam,[2] and involved a monthlong stint in the theatre for Taylor during November.[4] He later became navigator on HMAS Melbourne.[2]

Promoted to commander, Taylor received an exchange posting to the Royal Navy as commander of the amphibious warfare section at the Joint Warfare Establishment in Old Sarum. As his exchange stint concluded, Taylor returned to Australia and was made director of tactics and navigation at the Navy Office. Completing a course at the Joint Services Staff College, Taylor was appointed to command HMAS Vampire in 1979. He captained the destroyer until 1980, during which time he learnt every member of the ship's company by name and was known among the crew as "Rocket Rod".[2][3]

Senior command

Over the following twelve years, Taylor held a series of appointments that held the main focus on operations. Initially serving as fleet operations officer, he was later posted as director of naval development. In 1985, Taylor attended the National Defence College of Canada. On his return to Australia, he commanded HMAS Torrens. Reposted as Commander Third Australian Destroyer Squadron, Taylor was promoted to commodore and became Deputy Fleet Commander. He later served a stint as Commodore Flotillas.[1][2][3][6] For his services as Deputy Fleet Commander and Commodore Flotillas, Taylor was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 1989 Queen's Birthday Honours List.[7]

During 1990, Taylor was promoted to rear admiral and made Assistant Chief of Defence Force (Operations). Taylor's appointment to this position coincided with the commencement of the Gulf War, and as such he planned and coordinated the deployment of Royal Australian Navy ships to the Persian Gulf for service as part of Operation Desert Storm. During this time, Taylor was required to work closely with the Australian Government and became "adept at briefing the PM, ministers and other VIP visitors to the ops room".[1][2] In November 1991, he was posted as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.[2] Taylor was consequently appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 1992 Australia Day Honours List for his efforts as Assistant Chief of Defence Force (Operations) during the Gulf War.[8]

Chief of Navy

In 1992, Taylor was promoted to vice admiral and appointed Chief of Naval Staff. During his service as head of the Navy, Taylor supervised several major reforms to the service, including the withdrawal of British-built ships and Royal Navy manned submarines in favour of American-built destroyers and Australian frigates and submarines. He also implemented reforms concerning pay, conditions and rank structure as well as leading the Royal Australian Navy to become more tolerant towards homosexuals and women at sea.[1][3]

During February 1997, the position of Chief of Naval Staff was renamed as Chief of Navy, which coincided with the release of an efficiency review commissioned by the then Defence Minister. The review reduced the command responsibilities of the three service chiefs, which were instead to reside with the Chief of the Defence Force. Just prior to his retirement, Taylor was able to lessen the impact of some of the reform proposals and advocated that the Collins class submarine project proceed.[1][2] In June, Taylor was awarded the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) from Singapore for his "significant contributions in forging excellent ties and friendship between the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)".[6] He retired from the Navy later that month.[2]

Retirement

Following his retirement from the Navy, Taylor and his wife purchased a property at Wamboin, New South Wales, where they raised alpacas. On 1 September 2002, Taylor died of lung cancer at the age of 62; he had previously undergone heart surgery in 1993.[1][3]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Andrew Stackpool and Graham Davis. "VALE: 1940–2002 Vice Admiral Rod Taylor: Chief of the Naval Staff, Chief of Navy". Navy News. Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Farquharson, John (30 September 2002). "Rocket Rod navigated his way to the top". smh.com.au. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Vice-Admiral 'Rocket' Rod Taylor". telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph. 26 September 2002. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Taylor, Rodney Graham". Vietnam War Nominal Roll. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  5. ^ "No. 45021". The London Gazette. 16 January 1970. p. 657.
  6. ^ a b "Dr Lee Presents Prestigious Military Award to Australian Navy Chief". MINDEF News. Singapore Government. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Taylor, Rodney Graham: Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  8. ^ "Taylor, Rodney Graham: Officer of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
Military offices
New command
Replaced position of Chief of Naval Staff
Chief of Navy
February – June 1997
Succeeded by
Vice Admiral Donald Chalmers
Preceded by
Vice Admiral Ian MacDougall
Chief of Naval Staff
1994–1997
Position replaced by Chief of Navy
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Ian MacDougall
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff
1991–1994
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral David Campbell
Allan Everett (Royal Navy officer)

Admiral Sir Allan Frederic Everett (22 February 1868 – 22 January 1938) was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff from 1921 to 1923.

Chief of Navy (Australia)

The Chief of Navy is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary of Defence. The rank associated with the position is vice admiral (3-star).

Vice Admiral Michael Noonan is the current chief of navy; he assumed the position on 06 July 2018.

David Leach (admiral)

Vice Admiral David Willoughby Leach (born 17 July 1928) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Navy, who served as Chief of the Naval Staff from 1982 to 1985.

David Shackleton (admiral)

Vice Admiral David John Shackleton (born 2 March 1948) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as Chief of Navy from 1999 to 2002.

Donald Chalmers

Vice Admiral Donald Bruce Chalmers, (born 29 April 1942) is a retired senior commander of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as Chief of Navy from 1997 to 1999.

Guy Royle

Admiral Sir Guy Charles Cecil Royle (17 August 1885 – 4 January 1954) was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Fifth Sea Lord and First Naval Member of the Royal Australian Navy.

Hastings Harrington

Vice Admiral Sir Wilfred Hastings "Arch" Harrington (17 May 1906 – 17 December 1965) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Naval Staff from 1962 to 1965.

Ian MacDougall

Vice Admiral Ian Donald George MacDougall (born 23 February 1938) is a retired senior commander of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as Chief of Naval Staff from 1991 to 1994. He also served as Commissioner of New South Wales Fire Brigades, and is Patron of the Submarines Association Australia.

James Willis (admiral)

Vice Admiral Sir Guido James Willis (18 October 1923 – 15 June 2003) was an officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) who rose to the rank of vice admiral. He joined the RAN in 1937, saw active service during World War II and the Korean War, and was Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) from 1979 to 1982 before retiring.

Michael Hudson (admiral)

Admiral Michael Wyndham "Mike" Hudson (10 March 1933 – 27 February 2005) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), particularly notable for playing an important role in the introduction of the Collins class submarines and Anzac Class frigates, and establishing two-ocean basing for ships of the RAN during his tenure as Chief of Naval Staff from 1985 to 1991.

Michael Noonan (admiral)

Vice Admiral Michael Joseph Noonan, (born 13 December 1966) is a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy and the current Chief of Navy since 6 July 2018. He previously served as Commander Border Protection Command from 2013 to 2015, and Deputy Chief of Navy from January 2016 until March 2018.

Percy Grant (Royal Navy officer)

Admiral Sir Edmund Percy Fenwick George Grant, (23 September 1867 – 8 September 1952) was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff from 1919 to 1921.

Richard Peek (admiral)

Vice Admiral Sir Richard Innes Peek (30 July 1914 – 28 August 2010) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy, who served as First Naval Member of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board from 1970 to 1973.

Rod Taylor

Rodney Sturt Taylor (11 January 1930 – 7 January 2015) was an Australian-born actor. He appeared in more than 50 feature films, including The Time Machine (1960), The Birds (1963), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), 36 Hours (1965), Hotel (1967), Chuka (1967), and The Hell with Heroes (1968).

Rod Taylor (disambiguation)

Rod Taylor (Rodney Sturt Taylor, 1930–2015) was an Australian-born American actor.

Rod or Rodney Taylor may also refer to:

Rod Taylor (singer) (born 1957), reggae singer and producer, born in Jamaica

Rod Taylor (skier) (Roderick G. Taylor, 1943–2014), member of U.S. Olympic Ski Team

Rod Taylor (ice hockey) (born 1967), American ice hockey player

Rodney Taylor (Rodney Graham Taylor, 1940–2002), Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, 1994-1997

Rod Taylor (American football) (born 1994), American football offensive lineman

The Essex

The Essex was an American R&B vocal group formed in 1962. They are best known for their 1963 song "Easier Said Than Done".

Tim Barrett (admiral)

Vice Admiral Timothy William Barrett, (born 8 January 1959) is a retired senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Barrett served as Commander Australian Fleet from 2011 to 2014, before being appointed Chief of Navy in June 2014. He retired in July 2018 after four years as navy chief and 42 years in the navy.

William Munro Kerr

Vice Admiral Sir William Munro Kerr (4 March 1876 – 26 October 1959) was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff from 1929 to 1931.

William Napier (Royal Navy officer)

Admiral William Rawdon Napier, (13 June 1877 – 8 April 1951) was a Royal Navy officer who served as First Naval Member and Chief of the Australian Naval Staff from 1926 to 1929.

Director,
Commonwealth Naval Forces
First Naval Members,
Australian Commonwealth Naval Board
Chiefs of the Naval Staff
Chiefs of Navy

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.