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  • Australian soldier awarded VC



    SAS Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith was yesterday awarded the nation's highest military honour - the Victoria Cross for Australia.

    And the 202cm soldier, lauded as a true hero for his actions against the Taliban, was also revealed to be a family man - the father of five-month-old twin girls Elizabeth and Eve and husband to Emma.

    With his family - including his mother, his former major-general father and his opera singer younger brother - watching, Corporal Roberts-Smith stood proudly before Governor-General Quentin Bryce at SAS Headquarters in Perth as she pinned the gunmetal cross and its crimson ribbon to his chest.

    It was an honour awarded for "conspicuous gallantry in action in circumstances of extreme peril" and, together with the Medal for Gallantry he won in 2006, the VC makes him the most decorated member of the ADF.

    Corporal Roberts-Smith, 32, sat beside his wife Emma as the VIP crowd, included the nation's other surviving VC winners Keith Payne and Corporal Mark Donaldson, applauded Australia's 98th Victoria Cross holder.

    "Benjamin Roberts-Smith you went to Afghanistan a soldier, you came back a hero," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

    His elevation to the ranks of VC winners happened during his fourth tour to Afghanistan at a village called Tizak in Northern Kandahar province. There, on June 11, 2010, he single-handedly neutralised two enemy machinegun positions and exposed himself to fire to protect his mates.

    "We realised we had hit up against three machineguns and a number of other insurgents armed with rifles," Corporal Roberts-Smith said.

    "Three of us ended up in front of the guns."

    The three Diggers crawled to within 20m of the insurgent position when grenades were thrown and another SAS soldier engaged the enemy positions until his gun jammed.

    The third soldier was under such withering fire that he could not even raise his head, so Corporal Roberts-Smith realised it was down to him.

    "I saw my mates getting ripped up so I decided to move forward, I wasn't going to sit there and do nothing."

    He got to the wall and silenced the first gun before moving forward 9m to the second enemy machinegun, which also fell silent.

    "Within seconds my mates were right next to me and we just decided to push the advantage while we had it, killed a number more insurgents and pretty much consolidated that position." The battle lasted for six hours and the odds were four to one against the Australians.

    He said his focus was to position himself to avoid being hit, concentrate on the fight, listen for the sounds of the enemy's weapons and try to help everyone else there.

    He said a number of his colleagues would be recognised at a later date for their bravery that day.

    "It is just like being a football team," Corporal Roberts-Smith said. "You go as hard as you can until the game is won."

    In this case the score was about 60 Taliban dead.

    ON June 11, 2010, a troop of the Special Operations Task Group conducted a helicopter assault into Tizak, Kandahar Province, in order to capture or kill a senior Taliban commander.

    Immediately upon the helicopter insertion, the troop was engaged by machinegun and rocket-propelled grenade fire from a number of dominating positions.

    Two soldiers were wounded in action and the troop was pinned down by fire from three machineguns in an elevated fortified position to the south of the village.

    Under the cover of close air support, small arms and machinegun fire, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith and his patrol manoeuvred to within 70m of the enemy position in order to neutralise the enemy machinegun positions and regain the initiative.


    UPON commencement of the assault, the patrol drew very heavy, intense, effective and sustained fire from the enemy position.

    Corporal Roberts-Smith and his patrol members fought towards the enemy position until, at a range of 40m, the weight of fire prevented further movement forward.

    At this point, he identified the opportunity to exploit some cover provided by a small structure.


    AS HE approached the structure, Corporal Roberts-Smith identified an insurgent grenadier in the throes of engaging his patrol. Corporal Roberts-Smith instinctively engaged the insurgent at point-blank range resulting in the death of the insurgent.

    With the members of his patrol still pinned down by the three enemy machinegun positions, he exposed his own position in order to draw fire away from his patrol, which enabled them to bring fire to bear against the enemy. His actions enabled his Patrol Commander to throw a grenade and silence one of the machineguns.


    SEIZING the advantage, and demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry, Corporal Roberts-Smith, with a total disregard for his own safety, stormed the enemy position killing the two remaining machinegunners. His act of valour enabled his patrol to break in to the enemy position and to lift the weight of fire from the remainder of the troop who had been pinned down by the machinegun fire.

    On seizing the fortified gun position, Corporal Roberts-Smith then took the initiative again and continued to assault enemy positions in depth during which he and another patrol member engaged and killed further enemy.


    HIS acts of selfless valour directly enabled his troop to go on and clear the village of Tizak of Taliban.

    This decisive engagement subsequently caused the remainder of the Taliban in Shah Wali Kot District to retreat.

    Corporal Roberts-Smith's most conspicuous gallantry in a circumstance of extreme peril was instrumental to the seizure of the initiative and the success of the troop against a numerically superior enemy.

    His valour was an inspiration to the soldiers with and alongside whom he fought and is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian army and the Australian Defence Force.
    Last edited by pmtts; 23 January 2011, 20:42.

  • #2
    Evidently this lad didnt read the bit about overlapping medals



    a truly amazing person
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere***
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Comment


    • #3
      great news and well deserved.

      and now you can see why some of us have to overlap our medals
      RoyalGreenJacket
      Commander in Chief
      Last edited by RoyalGreenJacket; 23 January 2011, 20:59.
      RGJ

      ...Once a Rifleman - Always a Rifleman... Celer et Audax

      The Rifles

      Comment


      • #4
        Fair balls, that man!

        Comment


        • #5
          Well done that man, well deserved.


          Been very few British VC`s recently.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rod and serpent View Post
            Been very few British VC`s recently.
            the last one awarded in 2006, and you can see the recipient Johnson Beharry VC every Sunday night in Dancing on Ice on ITV (ridiculous i know!).

            we were always told the RAMC won the most VC's with the Royal Green Jackets / Rifles not far behind. i don't actually know who has won what.

            but well done to that Aussie lad, the size of him at 6'7" must have made him even more of a target, but he wasn't alone that day.

            outstanding, and i thought the Aussies put on a great presentation ceremony for it all.
            RoyalGreenJacket
            Commander in Chief
            Last edited by RoyalGreenJacket; 23 January 2011, 21:57.
            RGJ

            ...Once a Rifleman - Always a Rifleman... Celer et Audax

            The Rifles

            Comment


            • #7
              He deserves a VC for keepinghis hands in the safe area.

              if it was me I wouldnt be getting a VC- rather a slap on th eface and possibly 6 months.
              Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
              Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
              The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere***
              The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
              The best lack all conviction, while the worst
              Are full of passionate intensity.

              Comment


              • #8
                Congrats Cpl Roberts-Smith, a job well done.

                Men like him are an inspiration to young people and indeed, young soldiers across the globe.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rod and serpent View Post
                  Well done that man, well deserved.


                  Been very few British VC`s recently.
                  What are you talking about, there have been two in the past five years, that's a positive glut by British standards! Remember, there were none awarded from the end of the Korean War until 1965 when Rambahadur Limbu of 10th Gurkha Rifles got his in Borneo. After that there were none until H. Jones and Sgt. Ian McKay (2 & 3 Para respectively) were each posthumously decorated for the Falklands War in 1982. Again, nothing from then until Beharry got his in Iraq and followed by another posthumous one for Cpl. Bryan Budd (Para) in Afghanistan. There was a New Zealand VC awarded a year or two ago as well, also SAS(NZ).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Three VC winners in the one spot, Austalians have a good record except for Singapore 1941 but have been trying to catch up ever since and doing a fine job.
                    Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      200 of them have been awarded to irishmen..thats one to beat

                      Comment

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