General Messenger retired as the UK’s Vice Chief of Defence Staff in 2019, after over 36 years service in the Royal Marines His career was notable for becoming the first Royal Marine to be promoted to 4* rank for over 50 years, and the first member of the Naval Service to be awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order since the Korean War.
Specialising as a Mountain Leader, his early career was spent predominantly in Commando Units, including several tours of Northern Ireland and Norway. Following Canadian Staff College in 1994, his appointments alternated between command and joint operational posts, primarily in the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood and the Ministry of Defence. Operational highlights involved him as the Chief of Staff to 3 Cdo Bde RM during the early stages of the Kosovo campaign, the Commanding Officer of 40 Commando during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Brigade Commander during the 2008/9 tour of Helmand, Afghanistan. Senior appointments included the 3* operational lead in the UK Ministry of Defence and the Deputy Commander of NATO Land Command in Izmir, Turkey. As Vice Chief of Defence Staff from 2016-2019, he was the second most senior military officer in the UK, responsible for the day-to-day management of the Armed Forces.
Since retiring, he has remained a proud supporter of the wider Royal Marines family; our serving and retired, our families and friends. His charitable roles include Patron to RMA-The Royal Marines Charity and Vice President of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.