Grad, Guards, Rick Ottaway and More


December greetings, fellow Clubbies. Well, 2020 will certainly be a year we will be looking forward to seeing the last of. Mind you, as Cadets we were always glad when the last month of the year finally turned up, as it meant (once something called “Grad” was put to bed) that we would be released for a few short weeks into the country’s unsuspecting communities. So, all hail to December and the potential of a better year to come.

Being summer and all, we would head off on leave and by New Years, if not before, we would find a beach that promised all those things that we were denied in our Waiouru existence. Quite often, we would come back to camp in early January looking a little bit like those strawberries.

If you read last month’s As You Were! post, and managed to reach the end, you would have read the trivia question – “The School provided Guards of Honour for two US Presidents. Who were they, when were they, and where were they?” Here are the answers, with photos of proof:

  1. Lyndon Baines Johnson, October 1966, Wellington Airport (the photo shows the front rank of the 100 man Guard waiting for the man, Don Bensemann right marker)
  2. George H.W. Bush, 1982, Wellington Airport (?). Strictly speaking, George H. Bush was not president at the time of his visit in 1982 (as the photo caption on p162 of A Favoured Few states), but Vice President to President Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton also visited Aotearoa, but that was in 1999 when, alas, the School was no more. Who knows, we may even see President Biden grace our shores sometime in the next four years.

Tribute – One of Our Own

Brigadier Richard Rodney Ottaway, MBE, Parkinson Class

Rick Ottaway was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 6 February 1948.  He completed his secondary education at Mount Roskill Grammar School, Auckland.

Rick enlisted into the New Zealand Army in 1964 as a member of Parkinson Class, the Regular Force Cadet School graduating into the RNZIR in 1966 as a Clerk All Arms.   Rick attended the Australian Army Officer Cadet School, Portsea, graduating in December 1968 and was commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps.


In 1971 Rick served with the 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment in Singapore.  From November 1971 to December 1972 he served with the 1st New Zealand Army Training Team in Chi Lang South Vietnam.

From 1974 to 1976 he served again with NZ Forces in Singapore.

He attended the Australian Army Command and Staff College at Queenscliff Victoria in 1982, the Australian Joint Services Staff College in 1989 and the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies in 1995.

In 1984 he deployed on exercise to Hawaii and Korea with the 25th US Division (Tropic Lightning).

Senior Army appointments included Commandant of the Army Schools Waiouru, NZ Army Representative at the NZ High Commission in Canberra, Commander of the Ready Reaction Force, Deputy Chief of the Army and Defence Advisor at the NZ High Commission in London.

Rick retired from the Army in August 2004 and was appointed as the Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Canteen Council. In October 2008 Rick was appointed as the General Manager Veterans Affairs NZ and to the statutory appointment of Secretary of War Pensions. He retired from this appointment in 2014.

In 1985 he was invested as a Member of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and in 2002 he was appointed as an Additional Aide de Camp to HM Queen Elizabeth II. He is a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management.  During his service he was also awarded the Operational Service Medal, the Vietnam Medal, the New Zealand General Service Medal (Warlike) Vietnam Clasp, the Armed Forces Award, the New Zealand Defence Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Rick was a member of the Queen Elizabeth National Army Museum Trust Board and the Kippenberger Military Archive and Library Trust. He also held the appointment as the Colonel Commandant of the Royal NZ Army Logistic Regiment (Duke of York’s Own).

Rick died on 30 December 2018.  He was married to Jacqui.  He left a son, Matthew, a retired Army Officer and a daughter Sarah.

Rick was another exemplar who’s service was a tribute to the objectives of the Regular Force Cadet School.  Forte Fortuna Juvat.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Jacqui for this contribution. I was privileged to have served with Rick on the same HQ in 1984/85. Twenty years later, Rick wrote for his page in our class reunion book that his most enduring memories of RF Cadets were “the people”. Despite Rick having what was sometimes described politely as a “grumpy” exterior, I can attest to his people skills – shortly before he left the Army, a farewell dinner was held for him at Linton Camp. He invited about 40 people  who he credited with being significant to him during his military career (including civilians and several of his Parkinson Class classmates). At the start of his after-dinner speech, Rick went around the table and spoke about each person and what their relationship meant to him.

Military Arts

Me and LBJ












The following is a poem I wrote for my upcoming memoir of my RF Cadet years:

RF Cadet School trivia

Guards of Honour were bread and butter in a RF Cadet’s life. How many did the School provide according to A Favoured Few? Are there any that your Class provided that didn’t feature in our history book? (Comment below.)

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