Report of New Aussie VC Recipient

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Recce_Mitch, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Just came across this.

    An Australian soldier, Trooper Mark Donaldson, has been awarded a Victoria Cross for gallantry in Afghanistan - the first to be awarded in more than 40 years.
    Trooper Donaldson receives the award for his rescue of a coalition forces interpreter from heavy fire in Oruzgan Province in Afghanistan.
    The award for exceptional bravery is the 96th Victoria Cross to be conferred on an Australian soldier.
    The investiture at Government House, attended by Governor-General Quentin Bryce and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, on Friday was told that on numerous occasions Trooper Donaldson deliberately drew enemy fire in order to allow wounded soldiers to be removed to safety.
    "As the battle raged around him he saw that the coalition force interpreter was lying motionless on exposed ground," the governor-general's official secretary Stephen Brady told the gathering.
    "With complete disregard for his own safety on his own initiative and alone, Trooper Donaldson ran back 80 metres across exposed ground to rescue the interpreter and carry him back to a vehicle.
    "Trooper Donaldson then rejoined his patrol and then continued to engage the enemy while remaining exposed to heavy enemy fire."
    It is the first Victoria Cross for Australia, established in 1991 to replace the Imperial Victoria Cross, to be awarded.
    Ms Bryce described Trooper Donaldson as an "inspiration".
    "We gather around you to distinguish your actions, and to honour the individual they speak of, the person you are, your undertaking, your way of living," she said after the presentation.
    "We are here to dedicate your contribution, your unconditional surrender to duty and humanity, your abandonment of your own necessity so that others may be secured."
    "By your doing and knowing, you will shoulder more than most. You are the finest example and inspiration.
    "Trooper Donaldson, VC, I salute you."
    Mr Rudd said Trooper Donaldson had joined the list of Australian heroes, adding his bravery would forever be engraved in Australian history and was the "stuff of legends.".
    "Generations of school children will now know of the story of Trooper Mark Donaldson," he said.
    "It is a story of a hero, one which will be told in classrooms, workplaces and watering holes for many years to come."
    "His feat under fire now becomes the stuff of Australian legend."
    Defence force chief Angus Houston said Trooper Donaldson joined a band of brothers - only 10 VC winners are alive today - so admired for their valour.
    "Victoria Cross recipients are at the very core of the ethos of which our military identity has been forged," Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
    "We in the modern Australian Defence Force, strive to live up to the heroism, and the values of the Victoria Cross recipients that have gone before us."
    In keeping with military protocol the air chief marshall saluted Trooper Donaldson.
    "As the highest ranking member of the defence force, there has been no current serving member that I salute, until now," he said.
    "Tradition holds that even the most senior officer will salute a Victoria Cross recipient as a mark of the utmost respect for their act of valour."
    Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said Trooper Donaldson stood in a great line of courageous soldiers who had won the Victoria Cross.
    "You have been in the front line of the battle for freedom, the battle against terrorism, a battle we cannot lose and we will not lose because of brave men like you," he said.
    "As the prime minister said, there is no greater honour than wearing the uniform you wear today, serving this nation, and that is why we thank you from the bottom of our heart."
  2. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    Outstanding. Thanks Mitch for bringing this news to the Forum. The Thin Red Line is continued!
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    A very brave action.
    Well done that man.
    Thanks for the post Mich.
  5. spidge


    Fantastic to see such feats of bravery rewarded.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Nice one...I guess he doesn't mind people knowing what he looks like then :unsure:
  7. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Well done Trooper Donaldson. And he wants to go back too..... a brave man indeed.
  8. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Many acts of bravery go unrecorded, nice to see one that has, and has been justly rewarded.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Nice one...I guess he doesn't mind people knowing what he looks like then

    I believe the Aussie SAS is a slighty different set up to ours.
    It's not so secretive.
  10. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Details of the SAS soldier's bravery first emerged last year.

    Major General McOwan said early in their tour in late 2007, Australian troops encountered significant numbers of Taliban prepared to take them on in large groups.

    An Australian, US and Afghan convoy was ambushed by a superior and well-prepared Taliban force while returning to base.

    The clash resulted in nine Australian soldiers being wounded, the largest casualty toll of any single action since Vietnam. The previous day, the Australian soldiers killed 13 Taliban.

    As the convoy withdrew, the Taliban opened fire. Major General McOwan said soldiers reacted without concern for their own safety.

    One, identified only as Trooper F at the time, but now known to be Trooper Donaldson, deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire on several occasions to draw attention away from the wounded.

    He then saw that a severely wounded Afghan interpreter had fallen from a vehicle and was lying on open ground raked by machine gun fire.

    "Without prompting, and without regard to his own safety, Trooper F ran back to recover the wounded Afghan," the major general said.

    "He ran across about 80 metres of fire-swept and exposed ground, drawing intense and accurate machine-gun fire from the entrenched enemy positions."

    Still under fire, he lifted the wounded man onto his shoulders and carried him back to the convoy's vehicles. He administered first aid and then returned to the fight.


  11. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member


    It was fascinating to see the Chief of Staff salute Trooper Donaldson after the presentation ceremony.

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I assume from that the tradition of the holders of VC's get saluted first ?

  13. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Senior Member


    Yes, as far as I know it will apply for the remainder of his career. In fact I thought that the tradition extended to all Commonwealth countries.

  14. Stevin

    Stevin Member

    Well done. Wish I could add some "reps" from this forums to him/his VC, but I guess that will pale in significance to is VC.... but then, the "reps" from here are a "people's award"....
  15. spidge


    Mark Donaldson has loaned his VC to the Australian War Memorial to go with their collection of VC's.
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  17. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    This was in the local paper.


    Attached Files:

  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  19. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    This latest issue focuses on Australia's Victoria Cross recipients, and features an exclusive interview with latest VC recipient Trooper Mark Donaldson.


    Attached Files:

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  20. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    "Just doing a job", says he. I suppose this will be worth quite a number of free pints as well :)

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