Vice Admiral Rodney Graham Taylor

Chief of Navy (1994 - 1997)

Deputy Chief of Navy (1991 - 1994)

Vice Admiral Rodney Taylor

Rodney Graham Taylor was born at Toowoomba, Queensland on 11 June 1940 and joined the RAN as a 13-year old junior entry cadet midshipman in 1954. He undertook his initial training at the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Cerberus, with further training as sea in HMAS Swan, at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and in HMAS Quiberon.

He served in numerous ships as a junior officer, including the Royal Yacht, HMY Britannia, later specialising in navigation. While serving as the navigating officer, in the guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane during her first deployment to Vietnam, he was mentioned in dispatches.

After promotion to commander he commanded the Daring class destroyer HMAS Vampire (1979-80) and then served at Fleet Headquarters as Commander (Plans) during 1980-81. As a captain he commanded the destroyer escort HMAS Torrens and was also the Commander of the Third Australian Destroyer Squadron. Later he was appointed as Deputy Fleet Commander and Chief of Staff (1987-88), and subsequently was the inaugural Commodore Flotillas at Maritime Headquarters in Sydney (previous incumbents has been dual-hatted as Chief of Staff/Commodore Afloat).

Here he was responsible for training and operational standards for the Fleet, which provided him with excellent background and experience for planning the RAN's participation in the First Gulf War (1990-91), following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. At this time he was posted as Assistant Chief of Defence Force (Operations) at ADF Headquarters in Canberra, where he had carriage of the planning for Australia's wartime deployments to the Gulf region. He knew the precise capabilities of the ships committed to the Gulf deployments and equally understood the concerns of Maritime Headquarters. Later he became Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (1991-94) and was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1992.

Taylor was promoted to Vice Admiral and appointed as Chief of Naval Staff in 1994, where he served with great distinction, overseeing considerable development and change within the Navy, when the first Anzac Class Frigate and Collins Class Submarine entered service. Feeling strong commitment to Navy's personnel, he continually stressed the importance of preserving Navy's values, traditions, ethos and professionalism. Under his leadership the Defence Efficiency Review was undertaken, which led to the subsequent Defence Reform Program. In early 1997 his title was amended to become Chief of Navy and he retired after 43 years of service shortly afterwards.

Vice Admiral Rodney Taylor passed away on 1 September 2002.