CQU alumnus recognised with Member of the Order of Australia

26 August 2022

CQUniversity Bachelor of Arts (BA) graduate' Major General Jason Blain has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his exceptional performance of duty in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Since he graduated from CQU in 1990' Maj. Gen. Blain has risen through the ranks of the Australian Army and is currently employed as Head of Armoured Vehicles. His AM was awarded for his recent roles as Director General Force Options and Plans' Branch Head National Security Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Commander 7th Brigade.

"My journey with the ADF began back in the late '80s while studying at CQUniversity'" Maj. Gen. Blain said.

"At the time I aspired to be a journalist but also wanted to experience the challenge of military service. This motivated me to join the Army Reserve in Rockhampton (42nd Battalion of the Royal Queensland Regiment) while completing my degree.

"The challenges of Army service and the leadership opportunities appealed to me. Soon after completing my studies' I was accepted into Officer training at the Royal Military College Duntroon."

Having served more than 32 years as an Infantry Officer before his promotion to Major General in 2021' Maj. Gen. Blain credited his experience at CQU with helping to set him up with the foundations and confidence to succeed as a military leader.

"In my current role in the Australian Army' I am responsible for armoured vehicle acquisition and sustainment in the ADF' including key programs known as LAND 400.

"It is an asset to draw on the excellent writing skills and an ability to analyse complex issues and determine key components requiring attention that I learnt throughout my studies.

"This has greatly helped me as a leader and military professional' especially in planning and executing demanding military operations' working with diverse stakeholders in challenging operating environments' and better understanding the worldview of others'" he said.

"Throughout my career' I have spent many days and nights training in Shoalwater Bay' just up the road from CQU Rockhampton. I often drive past the campus on the way to training activities and recall the fond memories I have of my time as a student there.

"I think about the wonderful friendships I made that continue today. I also met my future wife' Susan Blain (nee Wyman)' who commenced her BA at the same time as me and we actually celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year!

"I owe an enormous amount to Susan and our two children who support me every step of the way.

"My career has provided many wonderful opportunities for myself and my family but also has its challenges involving personal and family sacrifices' especially during periods of long separation when deployed on operations."

Throughout his career Maj. Gen. Blain has served on multiple international tours and deployments' including commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment in 2008 and 2009 and most significantly leading the Battalion as Mentoring Task Force One in Afghanistan in 2010. For his command and leadership on operations in Afghanistan he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

The Task Force was the only unit of its nature in the Australian Defence Force to be awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for sustained outstanding performance during a demanding nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.

"This was a highly challenging operation with the tragic loss of six of our fellow soldiers killed in action and another 36 wounded'" he said.

"Dealing with the loss of mates and comrades while also focusing on completing the mission is a real leadership challenge.

"Serving alongside my fellow Australians and other partners to help bring security and stability to people who have experienced the horrors of conflict and enormous suffering is humbling' but also makes you very proud to be part of a team willing to risk their safety and security in helping others.

"I am exceptionally proud of how our soldiers and young leaders performed during these demanding circumstances. I am also very proud of the compassion and care shown to families and loved ones during these terrible events."

Despite these challenges' Maj. Gen. Blain's passion to serve his country has always been his main priority as he continued to work with some of the highest levels of government through two secondments to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and providing advice on National Security and International Policy issues to four Prime Ministers.

"I am very humbled to be appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia and owe a great deal to the many wonderful people I have been blessed to serve alongside' both in Defence and in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet'" he said.

"It is a privilege to have had the opportunity to witness what they do in supporting our nation and our fellow citizens.

"I have been very fortunate to serve with some of our nation's finest people' in Australia and on operations overseas. They continue to amaze me every day with what they do in protecting our nation and our way of life.

"I believe there is no greater service as a soldier than helping our fellow citizens in times of desperate need."