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    Awards to Aussie SFTG

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    Two Australia servicemen from the Special Forces Task Group received Honours on the 26th of November 2006. Recently returned soldiers from an operational tour of duty in Afghanistan were officially welcomed home by His Excellency Major General M Jeffrey, AC, CVO, MC Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Prime Minister the Honorable John Howard, MP.

    Australian Special Forces were involved in almost daily contacts and some of the most ferocious fighting since the Vietnam war during their 12 month deployment to Afghanistan.

    The Governor-General presented the Star of Gallantry and the Medal for Gallantry to two of the Australian soldiers in recognition of their conspicuous acts of gallantry and leadership whilst in combat.

    The GG isn't too shabby in the gong department either !!

    This is the first Star of Gallantry to be awarded.



    Edited by Tiger-pie
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    The yarn.

    IN FEROCIOUS fighting, Commando Sergeant A, under direct fire from insurgents, led a rescue mission to save Canadian soldiers as they came under siege in southern Afghanistan.

    He did it with "absolute disregard for his own safety".

    Corporal B helped clear a hostile area of militia to enable another coalition unit to evacuate, killing several insurgents in the process.

    He did this despite being wounded in the foot by a fragment from a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades.

    Sergeant A was awarded the Star of Gallantry, the first soldier to receive the medal, which was introduced in 1991 and ranks behind only the Victoria Cross in Australian military honours. Corporal B was awarded the Medal for Gallantry.

    The two commandos, both with the Sydney-based Fourth Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando), served for 12 months with the Special Forces Task Group in Afghanistan. They were presented with their medals by the Governor-General, Major-General Michael Jeffery, at a ceremony at Holsworthy Barracks yesterday. They cannot be named for security reasons.

    Sergeant A led a special forces unit in a four-hour siege in Oruzgan province, coming under intense fire from local militia as they fought to evacuate the cornered Canadians, who had suffered one fatality.

    The Australians were surrounded by militia for more than an hour, during which every member of the outnumbered unit was shooting at the enemy as close as 50 metres away.

    Sergeant A had rocket-propelled grenades land metres away from him, and took a bullet in his headrest while others landed between his legs and his vehicle was peppered with fire.

    "We had to fight our way out to survive," he said. He had a simple explanation for his survival. "I'm a better shot," he said.

    After securing the evacuation of the Canadians by air, Sergeant A again led his troops "with distinction and courage" as their vehicles encountered several ambushes on their return to base.

    Corporal B was one of six Australian soldiers injured when they came under fire, also in the hostile Oruzgan province.

    Despite grenade injuries to his hand, leg and foot, Corporal B fought on and cleared the area of militia to enable another coalition unit to evacuate.

    "Adrenaline took over," said Corporal B, who admitted he feared for his life. It was only after the engagement was completed that he told his commander about his wounds.

    The Prime Minister, John Howard, who was at the awards ceremony, said he did not think comments by the former SAS officer Peter Tinley in The Australian, that Australia's involvement in Iraq was a strategic and moral blunder, were justified.

    "The only comment I would make is that there is a division of opinion in the Australian community about Iraq and you would expect that division of opinion to be reflected through the whole community," Mr Howard said.



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