|Sir Gordon Messenger|
Then Lieutenant General Gordon Messenger, January 2014
15 April 1962|
|Years of service||1983 – present|
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff (2016–)|
Task Force Helmand (2008–09)
3 Commando Brigade (2008–09)
40 Commando (2002–04)
War in Afghanistan|
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath|
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
General Sir Gordon Kenneth Messenger, KCB, DSO & Bar, OBE, ADC (born 15 April 1962) is a senior Royal Marines officer and Vice Chief of the Defence Staff with effect from May 2016, in succession to Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach. As a colonel he commanded 40 Commando during the Iraq War, and led the Commando in the assault on the Al-Faw Peninsula. He served as British Commander of Task Force Helmand, during the 3 Commando Brigade deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Operation Herrick IX from 2008 to 2009.
Messenger was appointed an acting lieutenant on a short career graduate commission on 15 September 1983 (with seniority from 1 September 1982), transferring to a full career commission on 21 May 1986 with seniority from 1 September 1984. At this time he also qualified as a Mountain Leader. In 1995 he graduated from the Canadian Forces Command and Staff Course No 21. He was promoted substantive major on 30 June 1997, having previously held the rank locally.
Messenger served with British forces in the former Yugoslavia in 2000 (Kosovo), for which he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). He was promoted substantive colonel on 30 June 2002, having previously held the rank on an acting basis. For his leadership of 40 Commando (and attached army units) in Iraq, including the initial assault on Al Faw peninsular, and an action against Iraqi armour at Abu Al Khasib, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) on 31 October 2003. After a sabbatical in Geneva, he joined the Joint Force Headquarters as Chief of Staff in July 2004, a job that saw him on various operations worldwide, including Operation Garron, the 2004 tsunami relief effort, Operation Highbrow, the Lebanon evacuation operation, and a six-month tour in command of the Operation Herrick preliminary operation in Afghanistan. He graduated from the UK Higher Command and Staff Course in 2007 and was promoted brigadier on 24 April 2007. On 1 April 2008 he was appointed an aide-de-camp to the Queen.
Messenger served as the British Commander of Task Force Helmand, during the 3 Commando Brigade deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Operation Herrick IX in 2008–2009. For his leadership during this operation he was awarded a Bar to his DSO on 11 September 2009, the first member of the Naval Service to receive the DSO and Bar for over 50 years. He was promoted major general in late 2009, and appointed lead spokesman on British operations in Afghanistan. He went on to be Chief of Staff (Operations) at Permanent Joint Headquarters, Northwood in 2011 and became Director Force Reintegration HQ International Security Assistance Force in October 2012. He served as Deputy Commander of NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM)-Izmir from January 2013 until June 2014 when he was assigned to the post of Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations) in the Ministry of Defence. He was promoted to lieutenant general on 14 January 2013.
On 1 December 2015, Messenger appeared in front of the Defence Select Committee of the House of Commons in relation to the military situation in Syria. On 15 March 2016, Messenger was in South Korea to observe British troops participating in Operation Key Resolve. Messenger was appointed as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in spring 2016, in succession to Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach. Messenger was formally promoted to full general on 16 May 2016. He is the first four-star Royal Marine general since 1977. Messenger handed over his role of Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations) to Lieutenant General Mark Carleton-Smith on 18 April 2016.
Messenger was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2015 Birthday Honours and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2016 Birthday Honours. He is patron of the Defence Medical Welfare Service and honorary Colonel of 131 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers.
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Lieutenant General James Everard
|Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations)
| Succeeded by|
Lieutenant General Mark Carleton-Smith
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach
|Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff