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The Australian VC


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History has been made with the awarding of the first Australian VC (as opposed to the Imperial VC).

Awarding of Victoria Cross to Trooper Donaldson

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, congratulated Trooper Mark Donaldson as he became the first Australian in almost forty years to be awarded the Victoria Cross, Australia?s highest military honour.

The Victoria Cross is only presented to those who have displayed the most conspicuous acts of gallantry in action. There are only ten surviving recipients in the world today.

Trooper Donaldson?s actions under fire in Afghanistan resulted in ensuring the safety of other members of the combine Australian, Afghan and US forces, and ultimately saved the life of a coalition interpreter. He displayed exceptional courage in face of extreme danger.

Tradition holds that even the most senior military officers salute a Victoria Cross recipient, as a sign of respect for their act of gallantry.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said it would be his honour to salute Trooper Donaldson.

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It is difficult to accurately detect a "pattern" with recent awards so unimaginably rare (the highest standards still being maintained) but it does seem that the deeds selected are rather on the George Cross-ish side

defensive, rescuing comrades under fire

rather than recognizing bravery under offensive combat--storming enemy positions etc etc.

There may some committee bias here which while in no way whatsoever slighting the heroes recognized, may be "de-selecting" other candidates because of absurd bureaucratic concerns over "political correctness."

How sad to read that neither of his parents are alive to see their son become a national hero. :beer:

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^Well you can decide for yourself if it was worthy or not, citation below...

For most conspicuous acts of gallantry in action in a circumstance of great peril in Afghanistan as part of the Special Operations Task Group during Operation SLIPPER, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan.

Trooper Mark Gregor Donaldson enlisted into the Australian Army on 18 June 2002. After completing Recruit and Initial and Employment Training he was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. Having successfully completed the Special Air Service Selection Course in April 2004, Trooper Donaldson was posted to Special Air Service Regiment in May 2004.

On 2 September 2008, 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 enemy 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 66mm and 84mm 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 bought enough time for those wounded to be moved to relative safety.

As the enemy had employed the tactic of a rolling ambush, the patrol was forced to conduct numerous vehicle manoeuvres, under intense enemy fire, over a distance of approximately four kilometres to extract the convoy from the engagement area. Compounding the extraction was the fact that casualties had consumed all available space within the vehicles. Those who had not been wounded, including Trooper Donaldson, were left with no option but to run beside the vehicles throughout. During the conduct of this vehicle manoeuvre to extract the convoy from the engagement area, a severely wounded coalition force interpreter was inadvertently left behind. Of his own volition and displaying complete disregard for his own safety, Trooper Donaldson moved alone, on foot, across approximately 80 metres of exposed ground to recover the wounded interpreter. 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 him up and carried him back to the relative safety of the vehicles then provided immediate first aid before returning to the fight.

On subsequent occasions during the battle, Trooper Donaldson administered medical care to other wounded soldiers, whilst continually engaging the enemy.

Trooper Donaldson?s acts of exceptional gallantry in the face of accurate and sustained enemy fire ultimately saved the life of a coalition force interpreter and ensured the safety of the other members of the combined Afghan, US and Australian force. Trooper Donaldson?s actions on this day displayed exceptional courage in circumstances of great peril. His actions are of the highest accord and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Special Operations Command, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

@ Darrel, cropped phot of the VC.

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Conditions of award for GC and VC respectively.

George Cross:

?It is ordained that the Cross shall be awarded only for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger?

Victoria Cross:

?most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy?

Source: UK Ministry of Defence

Cheers,

James Hoard

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Conditions of award for GC and VC respectively.

George Cross:

?It is ordained that the Cross shall be awarded only for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger?

Victoria Cross:

?most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy?

Source: UK Ministry of Defence

Cheers,

James Hoard

Exactly what relevance is a source from the UK Ministry of Defence got to awarding of a medal to an Australian? We don't have the GC in our table of awards either.

Johnsy

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This is what the Australian warrant (dated 15 January 1991) says:

"The decoration shall only be awarded for the most conspicuous gallantry or a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacnfice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy."

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Exactly what relevance is a source from the UK Ministry of Defence got to awarding of a medal to an Australian? We don't have the GC in our table of awards either.

Johnsy

Refer to post 6.

Incidentally, 1) the VC isn't a medal, it is a decoration and 2) the GC is in the Australian table fo awards, it is simply not awarded there any longer.

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How does the Aussie award differ from the Brit award?

Do the Brits give it the same status?

Best

Chris

As far as I'm aware, the Australian who was awarded the "new" VC is not recognised by the British VC association. They still have only 96 Ozzy winners mentioned.

The new VC is identical in every respect except for the fact that is now an Australian only affair. The Ozzy VC also supersedes the Imperial VC.

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Refer to post 6.

Incidentally, 1) the VC isn't a medal, it is a decoration and 2) the GC is in the Australian table fo awards, it is simply not awarded there any longer.

1) I didn't mention the VC, just the source in reference to Australia; and 2) I said our table of awards, not the table of wear.

We are not some offshoot of the Empire anymore. The sooner we get rid of that foreign flag from the canton of our flag, or a new flag, the better.

Regards,

Johnsy

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1) I didn't mention the VC, just the source in reference to Australia; and 2) I said our table of awards, not the table of wear.

We are not some offshoot of the Empire anymore. The sooner we get rid of that foreign flag from the canton of our flag, or a new flag, the better.

Regards,

Johnsy

Republic.

Nice word, Johnsy.

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Guest Darrell

.....The new VC is identical in every respect except for the fact that is now an Australian only affair. The Ozzy VC also supersedes the Imperial VC.

Does the Ozzy version use the words "For Valour" or Pro Valore" like the Canadian type?

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Guest Darrell

"For Valour", as per the Imperial VC.

Ahh .. thanks.

See in Canada, we can't use "English" words, as that would be discrimatory towards our "Eastern" folks :rolleyes:

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Does the Ozzy version use the words "For Valour" or Pro Valore" like the Canadian type?

No linguistic issues in Australia and too many Original Australian languages to contend with that complexity (though, interestingly, New Zealand missed out on that dimension?)?

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No linguistic issues in Australia and too many Original Australian languages to contend with that complexity (though, interestingly, New Zealand missed out on that dimension?)?

NZ mdals tend to be far more 'traditional' than Australian medals, so there is little chance that they would change the system.

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1) I didn't mention the VC, just the source in reference to Australia; and 2) I said our table of awards, not the table of wear.

We are not some offshoot of the Empire anymore. The sooner we get rid of that foreign flag from the canton of our flag, or a new flag, the better.

Regards,

Johnsy

Perhaps you missed my answer. I said refer to post 6.

I was responding to a post which seemed to suggest that the actions of the recipient were more in line with the standards of the GC rather than the VC.

Not some offshoot of the empire? Foreign flag? Funny thing to say in a series of posts about a decoration copied hook, line and sinker from that so-called foreign country!

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