Inspired bravery in face of death
Ian McPhedran - The Daily Telegraph January 24, 2011 12:00AM
In the official citation for his Victoria Cross for Australia, the selfless bravery that earned Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith this nation's highest military honour is detailed for the first time
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.
Under heavy fire
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.
At point-blank range
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.
Storming the enemy
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 alonside whom he fought and is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian army and the Austrlain Defence Force
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Aussie Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith earns the Victoria Cross for Australia, his nation's highest honor
Let's hear it for the Aussies...The men from "Down Under" are out there taking it to the enemy....An Aussie Corporal steps up and ensures that he & his mates don't allow the enemy to rule the day....