Distinguished Army veteran to speak at Redcliffe Anzac Day service

Published 4:00pm 19 April 2023

Distinguished Army veteran to speak at Redcliffe Anzac Day service
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

A retired Major General who spent more than three decades in the Australian Army will be the guest speaker at this year’s Anzac Day service in Redcliffe.

Major General Michael Ryan, AM, will address the crowd at the mid-morning service where he will talk about his time spent serving his country and what Anzac Day means to him.

This will be the first time Major General Ryan has attended the Redcliffe service, as he recently moved to Redcliffe and joined the Redcliffe RSL following his retirement.

“I will attend the dawn service and the march before speaking at the morning service,” Major General Ryan said.

“During my speech I will talk about the notion of service.

“Service is not just something you do in the military – it’s something we should all be doing in our community.

“And while Anzac Day is about the military, and I do feel very strongly about retaining that day to recognise the ultimate sacrifice of those who have gone before us, we should also understand that service does have a broader meaning in our community.

“Anzac Day is a day to remember that we are pretty lucky to live in this country.

“If you have a look at what is happening in Ukraine now, you realise just how lucky we are because we have never had to endure anything like that.

“We should be thankful for that every day, not just Anzac Day, because there are people out there who are willing to serve their country to ensure we don’t have to experience war.”

Distinguished Army veteran to speak at Redcliffe Anzac Day service

A distinguished career

Major General Michael Ryan, AM, grew up in a small mining town in Central Queensland and joined the Royal Australian Army when he was 17.

“I always wanted to be in the military,” Major General Ryan said.

“I travelled down to the Australian Defence Force Academy, failed everything there, and then went over the hill to Duntroon (The Royal Military College).

“I did an 18-month officer course and graduated from there as a Combat Engineer, which is basically the guys out the front of everyone else clearing mines and obstacles.”

Over the span of his career, Major General Ryan has served his country both here and overseas.

Highlights of his career include serving with the 6RAR Battalion Group in East Timor in 2000; in 2003, being the leadplanner for development of the first ADF Network Centric Warfare Roadmap; and in 2005, serving as the Deputy J3 for the Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq, Baghdad.

Major General Ryan commanded the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment from 2006 until 2007. He also commanded the 1st Reconstruction Task Force in southern Afghanistan from August 2006 to April 2007, which saw him be awarded the Order of Australia Medal.

“Being in Afghanistan was very challenging because we were the first ones that were really there so there was a lot of work in establishing ourselves on the ground and getting to know not only the environment and the people there, but also our Dutch partners,” Major General Ryan said.

“We were in a part of the country that was very underdeveloped and there were a lot of difficulties at times, especially with the cultural differences.

“But we got a lot done and we brought everyone home.

“Receiving the Order of Australia medal was a nice recognition of the entire task force and recognition of what had essentially been two years that I didn’t see my family.

“But to be honest, I was far more satisfied by what we had achieved in Afghanistan.”

Major General Ryan also spent some time working in the United States and is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a graduate of the USMC School of Advanced Warfighting.

He also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Asian Studies from the University of New England and is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force School of Languages.

In 2012, he graduated with distinction from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, earning a Master’s in International Public Policy.

Major General Ryan also worked as the Commander of the Australia Defence College for four years.

Today, Major General Ryan is an author who has written many articles and books, runs his own consulting company and is a public speaker.

His book, War Transformed, was published on February 15, 2022, by U.S. Naval Institute Books.

He has a new book, titled White Sun War: The Campaign for Taiwan, which will be released on May 4.

His books are available on Amazon and Casemate.

Find a service near you

Thousands of people are expected to attend Anzac Day services across the Moreton Bay Region on April 25 to pay their respects to the brave men and women who have fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedom.

Click here to find a comprehensive list of services and marches across the Moreton Bay Region. 

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