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Author Topic: SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson joins elite ranks of Australian VC heroes  (Read 1746 times)
Koen
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« on: 3 October 2009, 16:39:05 »
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SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson joins elite ranks of Australian VC heroes

An Australian SAS trooper who deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in a clash with the Taleban in order to save the lives of wounded colleagues today became the first of his countrymen to win the Victoria Cross in 40 years.


Trooper Mark Donaldson, 29, joined an elite band of ten VC survivors for his selfless act during a two-hour battle with the Taleban on September 2 last year.

At an awards ceremony in Canberra, Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, said: “Generations of schoolchildren will now know of the story of Trooper Mark Donaldson. It is a story of a hero, one which will be told in classrooms, workplaces and watering holes for many years to come.”

He and his comrades had been pinned down by a hail of machinegun fire and rocket-propelled grenades after a patrol of Australian, American and Afghan special forces was ambushed by the Taleban in Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan. Several of his comrades were wounded in the attack, and to draw the fire away from them he broke cover, laying himself open to attack by the Taleban who were well dug in.

The SAS trooper darted from cover to cover, firing as he went. “This selfless act alone bought enough time for those wounded to be moved to relative safety,” his citation reads.

As the wounded were removed from the scene, Trooper Donaldson ran alongside, as there was no room for him in the armoured Humvee vehicles. When he spotted a severely wounded Afghan interpreter who had been left behind, he ran across 90 yards of open ground, grabbed the injured man and carried him to safety, under constant from the Taleban.

During the withdrawal, the SAS trooper gave first aid to the wounded as he continued to fire on the Taleban. Of the dozen soldiers injured, none died.

Trooper Donaldson, who attended the award ceremony with his wife, Emma, and two-year-old daughter, Kaylee, was typically modest of his courageous acts. “You don’t really think about it at the time. You just do what you’ve go to do,” he said.

His wife said that she had no plans to ask her husband to be more careful in the future. “He was married to the Army before he married me and I support him all the way,” she said.

His VC, the highest honour for gallantry in the face of enemy fire, was awarded under the Australian medals system introduced in 1991 which allows the Australian Ministry of Defence to select candidates for bravery honours, rather than refer it through the MoD in London. But the Queen still has to give her approval.

Of the ten surviving VCs, three are Australian, three are British, three are Gurkhas and one is from New Zealand. The last Australian to win the VC was Warrant Officer II Keith Payne, now 75, who was awarded it in 1969 for courageous action in the Vietnam War. Trooper Donaldson is the 97th Australian to win the VC.

Didy Grahame, secretary of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association in London, said of the latest member of her select group: “It’s wonderful news.”

The Australian Prime Minister said that Trooper Donaldson had joined “the ranks of our bravest and finest”.

Mark Donaldson SAS Victoria Cross

Mark Donaldson, seen on the WaT youtube channel

source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article5532804.ece
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the_13th_redneck
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« Reply #1 on: 4 October 2009, 13:53:23 »
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Just glad that he survived.
That's the important part.
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