• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

First Aussie VC in 40 yrs

tomahawk6

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
61
Points
530
Well done Trooper Donaldson. :salute:

Video at the link.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24920340-601,00.html

MARK Donaldson has become the first Australian soldier awarded the Victoria Cross in 40 years, for his "exceptional bravery" in service in Afghanistan.

Trooper Donaldson has been awarded the nation's highest military honour in a ceremony in Canberra this morning by Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
Trooper Donaldson was serving with the SAS in Oruzgan province in Afghanistan on September 2 last year when his unit was hit by an ambush, wounding nine Australians.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross for “most conspicuous acts of gallantry in a circumstance of great peril”, according to the citation.

“During a prolonged and effective enemy ambush on numerous occasions he deliberately drew the enemy’s fire in order to allow wounded soldiers to be moved to safety.

“As the battle raged around him he saw that a coalition force interpreter was lying motionless on exposed ground.

“With complete disregard for his own safety, on his initiative and alone, Trooper Donaldson ran back 80 metres across exposed ground to rescue the interpreter and carry him back to vehicle.

“Trooper Donaldson then rejoined his patrol and continued to engage the enemy while remaining exposed to heavy enemy fire.”

His citation said he "displayed exceptional courage in circumstances of great peril" and saved the life of the interpreter.

Kevin Rudd described the award as “truly historic”.

“Trooper Donaldson’s bravery will forever be engraved in Australian history,” the Prime Minister  said in a statement.

“Generations of schoolchildren will now know of the story of Trooper Mark Donaldson.

“Trooper Donaldson’s courage and selflessness in the face of such unspeakable danger is not only a great tribute to him and his family – it epitomises the spirit of the Aussie Digger.

“The soldiers that he saved will be forever indebted to him. The nation will be forever indebted to him.”

Ms Bryce described Trooper Donaldson as “the finest example and inspiration”.

“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 secure, your courage, generosity, compassion,” Ms Bryce said at the ceremony.

“Trooper Donaldson, VC, I salute you.”

Chief of the Defence Force Angus Houston told the gathering Victoria Cross recipients were “at the very core of the ethos of which our military identity had been forged”.

“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 protocol Air Chief Marshal Houston then 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.”

An official Defence account of the action in December detailed the ambush and heroism of Australians, referring to Trooper Donaldson as Trooper F.

Major General Tim McOwan said a joint US, Australian and Afghan Humvee convoy was ambushed when returning to base after inflicting 13 Taliban kills a day earlier.

"In order to regain the initiative several SAS soldiers reacted to the ambush without regard to their own safety," Major General McOwan said.

"One soldier, whom I shall refer to as Trooper F, moved between positions of cover to engage the enemy, using anti-armour weapons as well as his personal weapon.

"The soldier deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire on several occasions in order to draw fire away from those soldiers who were already wounded in the initial heavy fire."

During an attempt to move the convoy away from the heavy enemy fire, a severely wounded Afghan interpreter fell from a truck. "Trooper F saw he had fallen and was lying to the rear in the open in ground being raked by machinegun fire," Major General McOwan said.

"Without prompting and without regard to his own safety, Trooper F went back to recover the wounded Afghan. He ran across about 80m of fire-swept and exposed ground, drawing intense and accurate machinegun fire from the entrenched enemy positions."

Trooper F lifted the wounded man on to his shoulders and carried him back to the vehicles before applying first aid and then returning to the firefight.

The Taliban ambush resulted in nine Australian soldiers being wounded, the most in a single action since the Vietnam War.

Ninety six Australians have been awarded the Imperial Victoria Cross.

Trooper Donaldson becomes the first recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia, which replaced the imperial honour in 1991.

The first Australian to be awarded a Victoria Cross was Captain Sir Neville Howse VC KCMG CB KStJ in 1900 during the Boer War. He also served in World War I and later as commonwealth minister for health, defence and repatriation.

The most recent Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross was Warrant Officer Keith Payne VC OAM in 1969 for gallantry during the Vietnam War. Under heavy enemy fire Warrant Officer Payne instigated a daring rescue of more than 40 men, many of them wounded, and led the party back to the battalion base.

Along with Mr Payne, the only other surviving Australian VC recipient is Victorian Edward Kenna, who won his award for service in New Guinea in 1945.



 

1feral1

Banned
Banned
Reaction score
0
Points
0
This is truly such good news.

Our first VC since the Viet Nam War.

A proud day for not only Defence Force Members, but all Australians.

Regards,

Wes
 

gaspasser

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
0
Points
0
:salute:  Gud on ya, Digger    :salute:


The good thing is, it was awarded NOT post-humously! 
Can't praise this lad enough. 
:cdn:
 

Michael OLeary

Army.ca Fixture
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
1
Points
410
http://www.defence.gov.au/special_events/TPR_markDonaldson.htm

20090115adf8054893_003_th.jpg


AUSTRALIAN ARMY

TO BE AWARDED TO THE VICTORIA CROSS FOR AUSTRALIA

8248070 TROOPER MARK GREGOR DONALDSON

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. 



Personal biography of Trooper Mark Gregor Strang Donaldson, VC

Mark Donaldson was born in Waratah, Newcastle, NSW on 2 April 1979. He spent his formative years in northern NSW where he graduated from high school in 1996.

Trooper Donaldson enlisted into the Australian Army on 18 june 2002 and entered recruit training at the Army Recruit Training Centre, Kapooka, NSW. He demonstrated an early aptitude for soldiering and was awarded the prizes for best shot and best at physical training in his platoon. Subsequently he was allocated to the Royal Australian infantry corps and posted to the school of infantry at Singleton, NSW, where he excelled in his initial employment training. At the completion of this training he was again awarded best shot and best at physical training, as well as the award for the most outstanding soldier in his platoon.

He was posted to 1st battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Townsville, QLD in November 2002. It was during this time that Trooper Donaldson decided to pursue his ambition to join the special air service regiment.

In February 2004, he successfully completed the Special Air Service Regiment selection course and was posted to the regiment in may 2004. He was then posted to I Troop, 3 Special Air Service Squadron. Since that time he has been deployed on operations to East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.

On 12 august 2008, Trooper Donaldson was wounded in action whilst conducting nightime operations in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan. He recovered from his minor wounds and continued on the deployment.

Trooper Donaldson was involved in an incident on 2 September 2008 in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan that resulted in him being awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia. He was invested by her Excellency the Governor-General of Australia at Government House, Canberra on 16 January 2009. Trooper Donaldson remains posted to the Special Air Service Regiment in Perth, WA.

Trooper Donaldson is married to Emma and has a daughter Kaylee. His parents are deceased.
 

dodger39

New Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
YYC Retired said:
Well bloody Done!  :salute:

Couldn't have said it any better myself.

A real hero, instead of the hero's we get slung at us i.e.  footy, cricket etc hero's.
 

brihard

Army.ca Fixture
Mentor
Reaction score
2,103
Points
990
The New Zealand Special Air Service had a V.C. winner a couple of years ago too, (Cpl?) Willie Apiata. Similar circumstances, outstanding valour while recovering wounded comrades during a Taliban ambush.
 

The Bread Guy

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
336
Points
1,130
Everything everyone else has said, TWICE....  :salute:
 

geo

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
0
Points
0
“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.”

Interesting.... I don't seem to remember this saluting thing to be a practice applied to VC winners in the UK or Canada.  Is this something that was imported from the USA where the tradition applies to Medal of Honour recipients.

Don't get me wrong... never had to deal with a living VC winner.
 

aussiechangover

Jr. Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
geo said:
Interesting.... I don't seem to remember this saluting thing to be a practice applied to VC winners in the UK or Canada.  Is this something that was imported from the USA where the tradition applies to Medal of Honour recipients.

Don't get me wrong... never had to deal with a living VC winner.

funny i was talking with some people here asking the same question for Canadians awarded the VC.  From my teachings way back in the aussie recruit school  system this was the practice to show marks of respect to a hero recognised by the country, further more naval gate sentries would salute the member as they passed to show respect.(i`m not sure if this was a written rule but i know of one member on guard duty who saluted someone wearing a medal similar looking to the VC and was questioned why his response was to show respect to a hero.)
 

vonGarvin

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
19
Points
430
02 September 2008, and is awarded the VC a mere four months later.  Well done!  Well done indeed!

(I only say this because I have yet to hear of a single valour decoration for the PPCLI battlegroup that left theatre last September)

:salute:
 

geo

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
0
Points
0
All in all, I've found that recommendations for Valour decorations have been processed with great speed since our arrival in KAF.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
703
Points
1,060
geo said:
Interesting.... I don't seem to remember this saluting thing to be a practice applied to VC winners in the UK or Canada.  Is this something that was imported from the USA where the tradition applies to Medal of Honour recipients.

Don't get me wrong... never had to deal with a living VC winner.

Tales my father told me:

He served in 1 Para ca 1945-48.  At that time there were still a lot of WW2 vets in.  One of them was an OR VC winner - whose name escapes me just now.  Despite the VC this member couldn't seem to keep stripes on his sleeves.  IIRC the drink took him from time to time.

Regardless of this the protocol for parades was the battalion would fall in.  The officers would fall in.  The Adj would hand off to the CO  ...... and then the CO would yell out to the sidelines "Would Pte ........ care to join us on parade and fall in?"

So I could see senior officers saluting a VC winner.
 

Nfld Sapper

Army.ca Fixture
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
10
Points
580
geo said:
Interesting.... I don't seem to remember this saluting thing to be a practice applied to VC winners in the UK or Canada.  Is this something that was imported from the USA where the tradition applies to Medal of Honour recipients.

Don't get me wrong... never had to deal with a living VC winner.

Just looked through CFP 265 AND 201 and can't find any ref to the above in it geo.

EDITED TO ADD

CFP 200 provided no guidance either.
 

dodger39

New Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
As the highest award for valour of the United Kingdom, the Victoria Cross is always the first award to be presented at an investiture, even before knighthoods, as was shown at the investiture of Johnson Beharry who received his medal before General Sir Mike Jackson.[14] Due to its status the VC is always the first medal worn in a row of medals and it is the first set of post-nominal letters used to indicate any decoration or order.[39] Similar acts of extreme valour that do not take place in the face of the enemy are honoured with the George Cross which has equal precedence but is awarded second due to fact that the GC is newer.[2]

There is a widespread erroneous myth that it is statutory for "all ranks to salute a bearer of the Victoria Cross." There is no official requirement that appears in the official Warrant of the VC, nor in Queen's Regulations and Orders but tradition dictates that this occurs and as such the Chiefs of Staff will salute a Private awarded a VC or GC.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Cross
 

my72jeep

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
0
Points
410
Simple question Wes will probably know have the Aussies changed their VC like the Canadians did? or is it still original.?
 

dodger39

New Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
In the last 60 years several Commonwealth countries have introduced their own honours systems, completely separate from the British Honours System. Australia, Canada and New Zealand[12] have each introduced their own decorations for gallantry and bravery, replacing British decorations such as the Military Cross with their own awards. Most Commonwealth realms still recognise some form of the Victoria Cross as their highest decoration for valour.[13]

With the issuing of letters patent by the Queen of Australia, on 15 January 1991, Australia became the first Commonwealth Realm to institute a separate Victoria Cross award in its own honours system. Although it is a separate award, the Victoria Cross for Australia's appearance is identical to its British counterpart.[14] Canada followed suit when in 1993, Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada signed Letters Patent creating the Canadian Victoria Cross. The Canadian version has a different inscription, as well as being created from a different unspecified metal. The legend has been changed from FOR VALOUR to the Latin PRO VALORE.[15] In 1999 New Zealand created its own Victoria Cross, identical to the Australian and British Victoria Crosses,[12] and this has been awarded once, on 2 July 2007 to Willie Apiata.[16]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Cross_for_Australia
Appearance
The Victoria Cross for Australia is identical to the original design. It is a "cross pattée 41 millimetres high, 36 millimetres wide. The arms of the Cross have raised edges. The obverse bears a Crowned Lion standing on the Royal Crown with the words 'FOR VALOUR' inscribed on a semi-circular scroll below the Crown. The reverse bears raised edges on the arms of the cross and the date of the act for which the Cross is awarded is engraved within the circle in the centre.[17][18] The inscription was originally to have been FOR BRAVERY, until it was changed on the recommendation of Queen Victoria, who thought some might erroneously consider that only the recipients of the Victoria Cross were brave in battle.[8] The decoration, suspension bar, and link weigh about 27 grams (0.87 troy ounces


 

Raven22

Guest
Reaction score
0
Points
0
The Victoria Cross is now technically called the Victoria Cross for Australia, but that is the only change. It is still exactly the same medal, ribbon, requirements and post nominals as the imperial award. The medal is still made from the British stock of cannon bronze as well, by agreement between our governments.

As said above, the protocol of saluting VC winners regardless of rank is an informal tradition, not an actual requirment.

Trooper Donaldson will probably be going back to Afghanistan later this year, so good luck to him. From what I read he also has a very understanding wife.
 
Top