PUBLICATION: Times Colonist (Victoria)
DATE: 1999.08.14
SECTION: Capital Region
PAGE: B1 / Front
BYLINE: Louise Dickson
SOURCE: Times Colonist

It's a new life for former base leader

For the first time in his life, David Marshall will have to decide what to wear to work in the morning.

During his 27-year career, the choice was obvious -- a naval uniform. That career ended in June when Marshall, the base commander of CFB Esquimalt, was relieved of his command after an investigation into explicit e-mails.

Now Marshall's at the helm of a private company. The challenges and opportunities of his new career -- even the thought of picking out his own clothes -- seem to delight him.

``That will be difficult,'' said Marshall with a laugh. ``If that's my biggest challenge, I'll be happy.''

In an interview Friday in his oceanfront home at CFB Esquimalt, Marshall talked about his decision to resign from the navy and stay in Victoria, rather than accept a posting as director of realty policy planning at the Department of National Defence in Ottawa.

``The job in Ottawa would have been interesting,'' said Marshall. ``But at this stage in my life, my family is here.''

Marshall lives with his partner Roxanne Rees and her daughter, who attends private school. His two sons live in Vancouver with their mother.

``I have no desire to be separated from my family and to commute every four to six weeks for a weekend. That's not very high quality of life.''

The popular former base commander was suspended from duty in February. Although he was not charged with any criminal or service offence, Rear Admiral Ron Buck said it would be inappropriate to reinstate Marshall because of ``ethical and leadership considerations.''

Marshall said his decision to leave the navy wasn't particularly difficult. In fact, it seemed exactly the right thing to do.

``Once the admiral made his decision, then Roxanne and I were in a position to make decisions about ourselves. Being a family was the first priority for us. Our friends are here. We're established here.''

Before the investigation, Marshall had already planned to retire next year from his post as base commander.

``There would have been no other opportunities for me here in Victoria, so I'm leaving a year early. I always said when the time came if there was no other opportunity in sight, it would be time to go.''

Marshall enlisted the help of an executive placement agency to get his start in private industry. He has chosen to work as plant manager of a local company where he will supervise up to 300 employees.

``I'm thrilled,'' said Marshall. ``This company places a great deal of emphasis on the contribution of each individual. That's something that I place enormous value on. It does excite me.''

If the days ahead offer Marshall a new of set of challenges, they will also bring him a life surrounded by friends who stood by his side or demonstrated to support him. He is still very much moved by the hundreds of phone calls and letters he and Roxanne received. The couple now have to find a new home away from the naval base.

``It was very special,'' he said. ``I've tried, and continue to try, to thank all the people who called us, wrote us or dropped something off. I've been doing it for months now.''

Marshall, who loves the ocean and Victoria's climate, will continue to be involved in the community. He plans to work for several non-profit agencies and for the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

``It's a big decision, but it's one I'm really comfortable with. This community has been very, very good to me.''