Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour took over as Commander Joint Forces New Zealand from Major General Tim Gall on 31 October.
CAPTION: Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour accepts the Tewhatewha from a Maori warrior during the Change of Command ceremony. NZDF photo.
In a ceremony at Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand at Trentham, Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short paid tribute to Major General Gall’s commitment and service as a soldier and as a leader.
“He has been tireless in his passion and energy in the role, leading through moments that not only challenged our Defence Force but our country generally,” Air Marshal Short said.
Under Major General Gall’s command, the NZDF launched three large humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations – Vanuatu in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam in March 2015, Fiji after Cyclone Winston in February 2016, and Kaikoura in the wake of the devastating earthquake in December 2016.
Major General Gall also oversaw the start of New Zealand’s Building Partner Capacity mission in Iraq in May 2015. Together with Australian Defence Force personnel, NZDF troops have helped train more than 39,000 Iraqi soldiers and Federal Police over the past three years.
During his tenure, the NZDF expanded its contributions to the United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa, the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission in South Korea, the mentoring mission in Afghanistan and other coalition operations in the Middle East.
“For me, there is no greater honour than to serve our country and it has been a privilege to command our joint forces,” said Major General Gall, who has served as the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand since March 2014 and is retiring after a distinguished 40-year career in the NZDF.
“I have been privileged to serve with our men and women in uniform, our civilian staff, as well as our civilian officials and coalition partners,” he said.
“The past 40 years have been extraordinary and I will always cherish my time in our Defence Force.”
Rear Admiral Gilmour, who was promoted to his current rank upon taking up his new role, said his appointment as Commander Joint Forces New Zealand was a great honour and responsibility.
“I am looking forward to working again with and for our fine people on operations around the world,” he said.
“Major General Gall has led Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand to be a high-performing and forward-focussed professional entity that plans effectively, supports our deployed missions and provides the best operational advice possible.
“I will be ensuring that these admirable qualities are maintained and strengthened.”
Rear Admiral Gilmour joined the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) in 1985 as an Ordinary Communications trainee. He was selected for pilot training in 1990 and deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield in 1995, as Flight Commander of HMNZS Waikato and Wellington.
During his 14-year career in aviation he was posted to the Royal Australian Navy’s 723 Squadron as a Helicopter Flying Instructor and oversaw the introduction to service of the Seasprite helicopters in the RNZN’s helicopter support squadron.
He was the Commanding Officer of strategic sealift ship HMNZS Canterbury when it took part in the NZDF’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations following the September 2009 Samoa earthquake and tsunami and the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
In late 2011, Rear Admiral Gilmour deployed to the Middle East as the Commander Task Force 151 (CTF 151), one of three task forces that comprise the 33-nation Combined Maritime Forces. CTF 151’s mission is to deter and disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea in the South Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.