Ian Langford - Service overview

Running time
3 min 16 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


My career prior to service is pretty limited to school and part time work. I’m the son of a soldier who spent more than 25 years in the Army. And so my childhood was replete with living in places for two- or three-years spurts, and then moving to another place. So we got to live in North Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, country Victoria, Brisbane. And so my school ranged across primary and high school in those states predominantly but ended in Wodonga.

In the heart of the 92 recession, which we will probably remember was a pretty torrid time, particularly for country Victorians coming out of school trying to find work. So I was motivated to join the army because of my family as much as I was to get a job. So I joined in 92, the army was grappling with its role and relevance in the period post-Vietnam and certainly it had excellent soldiers and was performing important work, but really was very different back then to what it is now in the sense that I went into Kapooka.

Graduated in 1993, into artillery, and then was a gunner in artillery for about two years before then being selected for the Royal Military College where I began officer training here in Canberra in 1994, graduating at the end of 95 to infantry and then up to Townsville to begin my regimental appointments in the First Battalion, and then followed by eventually attempting and completing special forces selection and reinforcing into Commandos, which at that time was an emerging full time capability despite the fact that it had been part of Army's orbit and capability set in the time since the Second World War.

So that then coincided, essentially, with the East Timor crisis of 1999, the War on Terror which began with the attack on the Twin Towers of September 11. And then that drumbeat of continual deployments to the Middle East area of operations, both in the context of UN deployments but also as part of Australia's commitment to the global war on terror all the way through to the end of 2014 15 with a deployment to Iraq as the Special Operations task group commander to task group 632, which was Australia's contribution to the counter ISIS security emergency in Iraq at that time, so a pretty deployment rich career and very fortunate to have my time in uniform coincide with a very busy operational tempo.

But much of our success can only be described in the context of the generations that went before me in terms of maintaining our training and our standards across those periods in the 1970s and 80s, which protected our training systems and made sure that the army was capable and ready when war came, which unfortunately did in that period post September 11.

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