National President – Mr Rod White AM RFD
A Vietnam veteran who rose to the rank of Major after enlisting in the Australian Defence Force is the RSL’s new National President. RSL NSW President Rod White AM RFD was elected to the RSL’s most senior position at the organisation’s annual general meeting in Melbourne today.
For his service to the RSL and the broader ex-service community, Mr White has received the Australian Centenary Medal and been appointed a Life Member of the RSL. Mr White said he was excited and honoured to lead the League into its second century.
“I joined the RSL in 1971 and have been a champion of its work and Australia’s veteran community ever since,” Mr White said.
Within the RSL, he has had extensive experience including Branch President, State Councillor, Trustee of the Welfare & Benevolent Institution, Director of the ANZAC House Trust plus several other key appointments.
Mr White serves on the Board of RSL LifeCare, the Army Museum of NSW Victoria Barracks Paddington and is on the executive of Regimental committees.
“My priority, of course, will be the betterment of both the veteran community and serving members of the ADF, together with their dependents,” he said.
“I also hope to further enhance society’s knowledge and awareness of our military heritage, so Australians never forget the sacrifices that have been made to preserve our freedoms.”
Besides his involvement with veteran welfare, Mr White has a keen interest in corporate governance, Australian military and social history and is a regular lawn bowler. He succeeds Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO, who has served as RSL National President since 2009.
“The RSL has served the nation well for 100 years and, thanks to the dedication and hard work I have seen over the past seven years, I’m certain it will continue to do so,” RADM Doolan said.
“There are challenges ahead meeting the needs of the next generation of veterans but the RSL, with continued public and corporate support, is ready and able to support our Defence members during and after their service.”
Rod was born in North Sydney in 1946 and was raised and educated in Chatswood. On leaving school he followed family interests into the building industry completing his apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner. Concurrently, he enlisted in 1964 in the Army Reserve with the 17th Infantry Battalion, later volunteering for the Regular Army as a National Serviceman and serving for nearly 3 years. During that time he was posted to the 9th Battalion and then with the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment in the Vietnam War, as an Infantry Corporal and a Mortar Fire Controller.
After Vietnam, Rod returned to the building industry, re-enlisted in the Army Reserve and was subsequently appointed a commissioned officer. His postings included, Second in Command – Sydney University Regiment and of the 17th Infantry Battalion.
Rod was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (Military Division) for his service to the Australian Army Reserve and awarded the Reserve Forces Decoration. Rod retired in 1993 with the rank of Major.
Within the RSL NSW Branch, Rod has had extensive experience including as a Sub-Branch President, State Councillor, Trustee of the Welfare & Benevolent Institution, Director of the ANZAC House Trust, plus several other key appointments. He was State Honorary Treasurer from 2004 to 2014 and has been a member of the board of RSL LifeCare since 2002, and Chairman since 2004. In 2015 he was appointed State President of the RSL New South Wales Branch.
Besides his involvement with veteran welfare, Rod maintains a keen interest in corporate governance, Australian military and social history and is a regular lawn bowler. At home, Rod enjoys the company of his wife, Judith White OAM, a retired nurse and they try to keep up with the adventurous exploits of their son, David.