Aussie SAS Trooper awarded VC

As a resut of this action Trooper Mark Donaldson of the Australian SAS has been awarded the Victoria Cross. This is the first Australian VC in more than 40 years.

From his Citation which strangely can’t be found anywhere yet;

Trooper Mark Donaldson“During the conduct of a fighting patrol, Trooper Donaldson was travelling in a combined Afghan, US and Australian vehicle convoy that was engaged by a numerically superior, entrenched and coordinated enemy ambush. The ambush was initiated by a high volume of sustained machine gun fire, coupled with the effective use of rocket propelled grenades. Such was the effect of the initiation that the combined patrol suffered numerous casualties, completely lost the initiative and became immediately suppressed. It was over two hours before the convoy was able to establish a clean break and move to an area free of any fire.

“In the early stages of the ambush, Trooper Donaldson reacted spontaneously to regain the initiative. He moved rapidly between alternate positions of cover engaging the enemy with 56 millimetre and 84 millimetre anti-armour weapons, as well as his M4 rifle. During an early stage of the enemy ambush, he deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to draw attention to himself and thus away from wounded soldiers. This selfless act alone brought enough time for those wounded to be moved to relative safety.”

“His movement, once identified by the enemy, drew intense and accurate machine gun fire from entrenched positions. Upon reaching the wounded coalition force interpreter, Trooper Donaldson picked up and carried him back to the relative safety of the vehicles and then provided immediate first aid before returning to the fight.

“In subsequent occasions during the battle, Trooper Donaldson administered medical care to other wounded soldiers whilst continuing to engage the enemy.”

Kevin Rudds speech at the award ceremony. As Kevin Rudd says;

“In our workaday lives, that is the stuff of legend. It is the stuff of Australian legend.

It is the spirit of Kokoda where nobody is left behind.

It is the spirit of ANZAC, as the great CEW Bean has written: “ANZAC stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, for resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat.”

Mark, these men of ANZAC would nod with a knowing pride of your achievements and your feats in the field of battle in Afghanistan.”