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Army August 30, 2012
AFTER 45 years' service in the
Australian Army Psychology Corps,
14 as Corps RSM and career man-
ager, WO1 Ken Francis has hung up
his slouch hat for the last time.
Enlisting into the Army in 1967,
WO1 Francis decided to provide
regular Army service rather than
National Service, thinking he would
get something more out of it.
Intending at the time to only do
his initial term and discharge, WO1
Francis has since had one age exten-
sion approved before now reaching
compulsory retirement age.
WO1 Francis said he had a great
career in the Army and Psychology
Corps and hoped the corps would
continue to provide Army with qual-
"It's a fact of life that problems
requiring psychology support or inter-
vention are ever present," he said.
"I have always believed, and con-
tinue to do so, that it is essential for
the Army's psychology asset to be in
uniform. Uniformed personnel under-
stand and have experienced how mili-
tary operations work.
"They understand the military cul-
ture and behaviour, and the workload
stresses and satisfactions of soldiers."
After completing his recruit
training at Kapooka, WO1 Francis
fronted the allocation board where
he expected to go to Survey Corps,
but to his surprise he was allocated to
engineers, knowing nothing of what
Returning to the lines as an engi-
neer, a runner then came up to tell
him the allocation board wanted to
see him again. Thinking he had done
something wrong, he quickly made
his way back to the boardroom.
The president asked him what he
thought of psychology, so he ended
his 30-minute career in engineers and
started his career in psychology.
After joining the corps he experi-
enced a fast-tracked promotion, which
was common at that time because of
operational tempo and many experi-
enced soldiers leaving the service.
He was promoted to corporal in
1968, sergeant in 1970, WO2 in 1977
and WO1 in 1978.
Getting promoted early and young
had its challenges, with WO1 Francis
often being much younger than his
colleagues outside of the unit.
Despite these age gaps, he proved
to be professional and efficient in his
job and was twice offered a commis-
sion outside of his corps during his
career, turning it down both times.
"It just wasn't what I wanted and I
liked being a WO1," he said.
"If I'd wanted to be an officer, I
would have joined up as one in the
More recently, WO1 Francis has
been working in the release-of-infor-
mation area of psychology and was
surprised to come across a document
featuring his own handwriting.
"I saw the document and realised
it was my writing on an assessment
that I had conducted in 1968," he
"It was a strange feeling to find
that after all these years and so close
to my retirement I was again involved
with that individual."
WO1 Francis served with the
ARA until 2002 when he transferred
to the Army reserve. He continued
reserve service until 2008 when he
commenced continuous full-time ser-
vice. In 2010, he returned to part-time
WO1 Francis said he had worked
with and for a lot of very talented
people and had a lot of talented peo-
ple work for him.
"Lots of good times and memo-
ries, lots of hard work and stress -- but
it's all been worth it," he said.
WO1 Francis retired from the
Army on August 9. Not able to com-
pletely cut away, he's looking for-
ward to spending his free time writ-
ing articles on corps history for the
Psychology Corps Association.
Psych stalwart moves on
WO1 Ken Francis has retired after serving
his entire Army career in Psychology Corps,
Cpl Nick Wiseman reports.
career in the
Photo by Cpl
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