Vice Admiral Don Chalmers’s military career spanned over 40 years, starting when he entered the Royal Australian Navy in 1958. He rose to the rank of Vice Admiral and retired as Chief of Navy in July 1999.
Serving as a Seaman Officer specialising in navigation, most of his early years were spent at sea. His significant operational experience included postings in HMA Ships YARRA and PARRAMATTA during the Indonesian Confrontation, and as Commanding Officer of HMAS PERTH attached to a United States Navy battle group in the North West Indian Ocean in 1982.
Vice Admiral Chalmers attended the Naval Command Course at the US Naval War College from 1978 to 1979, and was a member of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London in 1988.
The last 11 years of his service were spent in senior military positions, including Maritime Commander, Assistant Chief of Defence Force responsible for Australian Defence Force development and international defence relationships, and finally as Chief of Navy. As Commodore Flotillas, he commanded the first Royal Australian Navy task group to deploy to the first Gulf War in 1990.
Vice Admiral Chalmers was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Gulf War Honours List in 1991, awarded the Legion of Merit, Commander Level, by the President USA in September 1998, and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand in July 1999.
Since retiring from the Navy, Vice Admiral Chalmers has been the principal of a consulting business (Fetcham Associates), and Chairman of CEA Technologies.