Major James Campbell DFC (Ret)
Major James Campbell (Ret) is the Foundation Member, CEO and Chief Pilot of the first Community Search, Rescue and Medical Evacuation Helicopter Service in Queensland. Jim holds commercial licenses on helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and gliders and has 11,100 flying hours on helicopters and 800 hours on fixed wing aircraft. He also has a helicopter instructor rating and instrument and night flying ratings on both helicopters and fixed wing.
Signing up for the Australian Army at 15, Jim’s 25 year career as a helicopter pilot and flight instructor included:
• Malaya –1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, 1961.
• Graduated as pilot 16th Army Light Aircraft Squadron, 1962.
• Irian Jaya – Working with United Nations, 1962.
• USA – Helicopter Instructor Training at Fort Rucker, 1963-64.
• Queensland – Flying Instructor at Amberley, 1964-66.
• Vietnam – Rotary Wing Section Commander with 161 Squadron, 1966-67.
• Queensland – Senior Flying Instructor at Amberley, 1967-68.
• Papua New Guinea – Second in Command 183 Squadron, 1968-70.
• Canberra – Instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, 1970-71.
• USA – Exchange with the US Army, in command of 48 instructor pilots, 1972-73.
• Queensland – Senior Standards Officer at Army Aviation Centre, 1974-75.
• Victoria – Australian Army Staff College, 1976.
• Queensland – Instructor at Land Warfare Centre, Canungra, 1977-78.
• Queensland – Instructor at Army Aviation Centre, Oakey, 1979.
After retiring from the Army, Jim became Chief Pilot and CEO of the Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service after its inception in November 1979. Jim bought property on the Queensland Sunshine Coast in 1966 and was flying voluntarily for the fledgling Helicopter Rescue Service for three years during annual leave.
Under his management until he retired in 2005, the Service has grown from a small basic helicopter based at the BIG Cow at Yandina to a Community Owned Service with three fully equipped aircraft at two bases, Sunshine Coast Airport and Bundaberg Airport.
These three helicopters provide an invaluable Medevac service to the country communities as well as the coastal regions of South East Queensland. They also operate as Search and Rescue, and work closely with Police, Ambulance, Fire and Rescue and other Emergency Services.
During his time at the helm of the Rescue Service, Jim was instrumental in forging excellent and long lasting relationships with the country communities of South East Queensland. These proved beneficial and rewarding and resulted in many years of fundraising events and support for the Service which still continues today.
After 50 years of service to the people of Australia, Jim continues to be a Company Member for Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service, volunteers for Legacy, and has been a guest speaker at Anzac Day and Australia Day ceremonies throughout Queensland.
Jim still has interests in aviation, business and the Australian Army and has been involved with archiving ath the War Memorial in Canberra.
An outdoor and fitness enthusiast, Jim enjoys outrigging, golf, swimming, cycling, hiking and pilates. In 2006 he walked the Kokoda Track and in 2011 he journeyed through nine Eastern European Countries on a 1944 ex-Russian motorbike and sidecar for seven weeks.
Awards and achievements
• Many sporting achievements in Athletics and represented Queensland in the modern pentathlon at the Australian Titles, 1952-75.
• Queensland Orienteering Champion, 1975.
• Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Gallantry and Bravery—first recipient of this award in the Vietnam War, 1966.
• Honoured with the task of delivering the Bell 47 helicopter he flew in Vietnam to the Canberra War Memorial for display in the Museum, along with his DFC Citation, 1979.
• Awarded the Fischer Community Australia Day Award, 2001.
• Awarded the Prime Minister’s Centenary Medal, 2003.
• Finalist in Australia of the Year Awards (Queensland Senior category), 2005.