Steve Gower graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1961. In 1966 he was serving in the 1st Field Regiment when he was sent to Vietnam as a forward observer. On his return he served in a variety of artillery positions, including as Commanding Officer of the 8th/12th Medium Regiment. He completed numerous training and policy appointments before his promotion to major general as Assistant Chief of the Defence Force for Logistics and Personnel. He retired from the Army to accept the directorship of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, a position he held for 16 years.