Commando Honour Roll

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CORPORAL CAMERON BAIRD, VC, MG
Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird, VC, MG, first joined the Australian Army on 4 January 2000 and demonstrated an early aptitude for soldiering. After completing his initial training, he was posted to the 4th Battalion (Commando), Royal Australian Regiment (4 RAR (Cdo)), which was renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment on 19 June 2009.

Over the next four years, (then) Private Baird deployed to Timor-Leste (East Timor), Afghanistan and Iraq, before leaving the Army in July 2004. In September 2006, Private Baird re-enlisted in the Army and returned to 4 RAR (Cdo) at Holsworthy, NSW.

In mid-2007, (then) Lance Corporal Baird again deployed to Afghanistan and, during a Special Operations Task Group night-time operation in Uruzgan province over 22–23 November 2007, he was nominated and subsequently awarded the Medal for Gallantry ‘for gallantry in action during close quarters combat’.

On 22 June 2013, Corporal Baird was on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan and leading his Special Operations Task Group team when he was killed during an engagement with insurgents in the Khod Valley, Uruzgan province.

On 13 February 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, MP, announced in the Australian Parliament that Corporal Baird would be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia for his actions on that day in the Khod Valley. Corporal Baird’s citation reads:

“For the most conspicuous acts of valour, extreme devotion to duty and ultimate self-sacrifice at Ghawchak village, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, as a Commando Team Commander in Special Operations Task Group on Operation SLIPPER.”

Corporal Baird’s parents, Mr Doug & Mrs Kaye Baird, were presented with the Victoria Cross for Australia by the (then) Governor-General, The Hon. Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO, during a ceremony at Government House, Canberra, on 18 February 2014.

Corporal Baird is only the fourth recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia and the first to receive it posthumously. He is the 100th Australian to receive the Victoria Cross since the award was first created by Queen Victoria in 1856.

Corporal Baird received the following honours and awards:

Victoria Cross for Australia
Medal for Gallantry
Australian Active Service Medal with ‘East Timor’, ‘Iraq 2003’ and ‘International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT)’ clasps
Afghanistan Medal
Iraq Medal
Australian Service Medal with ‘Counter Terrorism/Special Recovery (CT/SR)’ clasp
Australian Defence Medal
United Nations Assistance Mission in East Timor Medal
NATO Meritorious Service Medal
NATO Non-Article 5 Medal with ‘International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)’ clasp and multi-tour indicator ‘3’
Meritorious Unit Citation – Task Force 66 (Special Operations Task Group), Afghanistan
Infantry Combat Badge
Returned from Active Service Badge


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CORPORAL CAMERON BAIRD, VC, MG - VICTORIA CROSS CITATION
For the most conspicuous acts of valour, extreme devotion to duty and ultimate self- sacri ce at Ghawchak village, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, as a Commando Team Commander in Special Operations Task Group on Operation SLIPPER.

Corporal Cameron Baird enlisted in the Australian Regular Army in 2000, was discharged in 2004, and re-enlisted in 2006. In both periods of service, he was assigned to the 4th Battalion (Commando), Royal Australian Regiment. His operational service includes Operations TANAGER, FALCONER, BASTILLE and four tours on Operation SLIPPER. He was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for his service in Afghanistan in 2007–08.

On 22 June 2013, a commando platoon of the Special Operations Task Group, with partners from the Afghan National Security Forces, conducted a helicopter assault into Ghawchak village, Uruzgan province, in order to attack an insurgent network deep within enemy-held territory. Shortly after insertion, Corporal Baird’s team was engaged by small arms fire from several enemy positions. Corporal Baird quickly seized the initiative, leading his team to neutralise the positions, killing six enemy combatants and enabling the assault to continue.

Soon afterwards, an adjacent Special Operations Task Group team came under heavy enemy fire, resulting in its commander being seriously wounded. Without hesitation, Corporal Baird led his team to provide support. En route, he and his team were engaged by rifle and machine gun fire from prepared enemy positions. With complete disregard for his own safety, Corporal Baird charged towards the enemy positions, supported by his team. On nearing the positions, he and his team were engaged by additional enemy on their flank. Instinctively, Corporal Baird neutralised the new threat with grenades and rifle fire, enabling his team to close with the prepared position. With the prepared position now isolated, Corporal Baird manoeuvred and was engaged by enemy machine-gun fire, the bullets striking the ground around him. Displaying great valour, he drew the fire, moved to cover, and suppressed the enemy machine gun position. This action enabled his team to close on the entrance to the prepared position, thus regaining the initiative.

On three separate occasions Corporal Baird charged an enemy-held building within the prepared compound. On the first occasion he charged the door to the building, followed by another team member. Despite being totally exposed and immediately engaged by enemy, Corporal Baird pushed forward while firing into the building. Now in the closest proximity to the enemy, he was forced to withdraw when his rifle ceased to function. On rectifying his rifle stoppage, and reallocating remaining ammunition within his team, Corporal Baird again advanced towards the door of the building, once more under heavy fire. He engaged the enemy through the door but was unable to suppress the position and took cover to reload. For a third time, Corporal Baird selflessly drew enemy fire away from his team and assaulted the doorway. Enemy fire was seen to strike the ground and compound walls around Corporal Baird, before visibility was obscured by dust and smoke. In this third attempt, the enemy was neutralised and the advantage was regained, but Corporal Baird was killed in the effort.

Corporal Baird’s acts of valour and self-sacrifice regained the initiative and preserved the lives of his team members. His actions were of the highest order and in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

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CORPORAL CAMERON BAIRD, VC, MG - MEDAL FOR GALLANTRY CITATION
For gallantry in action during close quarters combat in [Uruzgan province] Afghanistan on Operation SLIPPER.

Lance Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird was part of a commando company mission assigned for clearance and search of a Taliban stronghold [over the period 22–23] November 2007. During the initial phase of the clearance, Lance Corporal Baird’s platoon came under heavy re and during the ensuing close-range re- ght, a member of his team was mortally wounded. Displaying complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Baird led other members of his team forward under heavy re from machine guns and assault ri es to recover the wounded team member back to a position of cover.

He then re-entered the compound and continued to engage the enemy. Even though under constant re, Lance Corporal Baird continually moved amongst his team members coordinating their re, and throwing grenades to neutralise the enemy machine gun positions. Once the close quarter battle had been won, Lance Corporal Baird again led his team forward and began room-to- room clearance, where he was again engaged by several enemy. Lance Corporal Baird continued to lead the ght, killing several enemy and successfully completing the clearance.

Throughout the action, Lance Corporal Baird displayed conspicuous gallantry, composure and superior leadership under re. He was personally responsible for killing several enemy combatants during the clearance, ensuring the momentum of the assault was maintained, and undoubtedly preventing further members of his section from becoming casualties. His performance and his actions were of the highest order and were in the nest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

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SERGEANT BRETT WOOD MG, DSM
SGT Wood enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on the 13th of February 1996 and post initial training was allocated to the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. He later successfully completed Commando training and was posted to the 2nd Commando Regiment (then the 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando)) in 1998. SGT Wood has seen Operational service in Bougainville, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was an absolute professional and emulated by many. His service was of the highest order and excelled in everything he did. SGT Wood’s loss will be sorely felt by the unit, mates and all who knew him.

SGT Wood was awarded the Medal for Gallantry, Distinguished Service Medal (Post), the Australian Active Service Medal with clasps East Timor, Iraq and International Coalition Against Terrorism, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Australian Service Medal with clasps Bougainville and Counter-Terrorism / Special Recovery, the Australian Defence Medal, the United Nations Transitional Administration East Timor Medal, the NATO medal with International Security Assistance Force clasp, the Unit Citation for Gallantry, the Infantry Combat badge, the Returned from Active Service Badge, the Defence Long Service Medal, and posthumously the United States Meritorious Service Medal.

During SGT Wood's service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following Operations:

OPERATION BEL ISI (Bougainville) - 2000
OPERATION TANAGER (East Timor) - 2001
OPERATION BASTILLE/ FALCONER (Iraq) - 2003
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) - 2006
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) - 2009
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) - 2011

Protective Security Detachment deployments to the Middle East Area of Operations - 2008
Multiple domestic Counter-Terrorism operations for the provision of security to international events

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SERGEANT TODD LANGLEY
SGT Langley enlisted in the Australian Army on the 18th of April 1993 and after initial training and a short period in the Army Reserve was allocated to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment in 1994. He later successfully completed Commando selection and training and was posted to the 2nd Commando Regiment (then the 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando)) in 2004. SGT Langley has seen Operational service in East Timor and Afghanistan. Sergeant Todd Langley was a dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate warrior who did not seek the limelight, preferring instead to let his actions speak for themselves. His professionalism and leadership was infectious.

SGT Langley was twice awarded the Commendation for Distinguished Service, the Australian Active Service Medal with clasps East Timor and International Coalition Against Terrorism, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Australian Service Medal with clasp Counter-Terrorism / Special Recovery, the Defence Long Service Medal, the Australian Defence Medal, the United Nations Transitional Administration East Timor Medal with 2 device, the NATO medal with International Security Assistance Force clasp and 2 device, the Unit Citation for Gallantry, the Infantry Combat badge, the Returned from Active Service Badge, and posthumously the United States Meritorious Service Medal.

During SGT Langley's service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following Operations:

OPERATION TANAGER (East Timor) – 2001
OPERATION CITIDEL (East Timor) – 2003
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) - 2006
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) - 2007
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – 2009
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – 2011
Protective Security Detachment deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations - 2008
Multiple domestic Counter-Terrorism operations for the provision of security to international events


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LANCE CORPORAL TODD CHIDGEY
Lance Corporal Chidgey died in a non-combat related incident in Afghanistan on 1 July 2014. He is survived by his mother, father, brothers and partner.

Twenty-nine-year-old Lance Corporal Chidgey was born in Gosford, New South Wales, in 1985. He joined the Australian Army in March 2006 under the Special Forces Direct Recruiting Scheme and on completion of his initial employment training, was posted to the then 4th Battalion (Commando), The Royal Australian Regiment, now the 2nd Commando Regiment, in September 2006.

Lance Corporal Chidgey deployed on six tours to Afghanistan ranging from two weeks to six months.

Lance Corporal Chidgey's colleagues in the 2nd Commando Regiment describe him as a brilliant bloke to know and work with, who was loyal to the core and would do anything for his mates. A consummate professional and a dedicated soldier, Lance Corporal Chidgey was one of the hardest working members of the Regiment, who never sought recognition or reward.

Lance Corporal Chidgey has received the following honours and awards:

Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT);
Afghanistan Campaign Medal;
Australian Service Medal with Clasp Counter Terrorism / Special Recovery;
Australian Defence Medal;
NATO non article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF;
Multiple Tour Indicator 3 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF);
Soldiers Medallion;
Infantry Combat Badge; and
Returned from Active Service Badge.
During Lance Corporal Chidgey's service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following operations:

Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) May - July 2014;
Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) March 2014;
Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) October - November 2013;
Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) July - December 2012;
Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) February - July 2010; and
Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) June - November 2008.

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LANCE CORPORAL MERVYN MCDONALD
Lance Corporal McDonald was serving with the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan when he was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on 30 August 2012.

Thirty-year old Lance Corporal McDonald was born in Carnarvon, Western Australia in 1982. He joined the Army on 31 May 1999 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR). On completion of his Selection and Training Course and Reinforcement Cycle, Lance Corporal McDonald was posted to the then 4th Battalion (Commando), The Royal Australian Regiment, now the 2nd Commando Regiment, in August 2008. Lance Corporal McDonald was on his sixth tour to Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal McDonald was quick witted and brought a positive energy to both his unit comrades and all those who served with him. A dedicated and enthusiastic professional soldier, he was always willing to come forward with ideas and solutions. He was a highly professional soldier, but his quiet nature and humility meant he always deflected credit back on to fellow members of his Company.

Lance Corporal McDonald has been awarded the following honours and awards:

Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp East Timor and ICAT
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
the Australian Service Medal with Clasp East Timor, Timor Leste and CT/SR
Australian Defence Medal
United Nations Mission in Support of East Timor Medal
Timor Leste Solidarity Medal
NATO non article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF and Multiple Tour Indicator (2)
Commander 1st Division Commendation
Infantry Combat Badge
Returned from Active Service Badge
During Lance Corporal McDonald’s service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following Operations;

Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) Jul - Aug 2012
Operation Norwich (Australia) Nov 2011
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) Jul - Aug 2011
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) Apr - May 2011
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) Feb - Mar 2011
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) Mar - Jun 2010
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) Mar - Jul 2009
Operation Astute (Timor-Leste) Mar - Jun 2007
Operation Astute (Timor-Leste) May - Sep 2006
Operation Citadel (East Timor) May - Oct 2003
Operation Tanager (East Timor) Oct 2000 - Apr 2001

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PRIVATE NATHANIEL GALAHER
Private Galagher was serving with the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan when he was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on 30 August 2012 (local time Afghanistan).

Twenty-three year old Private Galagher was born in Wee Waa, New South Wales in 1989. He joined the Army on 22 October 2007 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR). On completion of his Selection and Training Course and Reinforcement Cycle, Private Galagher was posted to the 2nd Commando Regiment in November 2011. Private Galagher was on his second tour to Afghanistan

Private Galagher always put in 110% in everything he did. He had a ‘can-do’ attitude, always wanting to get the job done and taking everything in his stride. He was an enthusiastic, young soldier who was very well respected by his mates from the Regiment.

Private Galagher has been awarded the following honours and awards:

Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp ICAT
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Australian Defence Medal
NATO non article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF and the Multiple Tour Indicator (2)
Infantry Combat Badge
Returned from Active Service Badge
During Private Galagher’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on the following Operations;

Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) Jul – Aug 2012
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) Sep 2009 – Feb 2010

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PRIVATE SCOTT PALMER
Private Palmer enlisted in the Australian Army in 2001. Private Palmer successfully undertook Commando Selection and Training in 2006 and joined the then 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) in November 2006. This was his third tour to Afghanistan and was serving with the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG). Private Palmer has seen Operational service in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. His professionalism was of the highest order and he excelled at everything he did. Private Palmer loved his job and working alongside his mates.

Private Palmer was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with clasps IRAQ, East Timor and International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT), the IRAQ Campaign Medal, the Australian Defence Medal, the Australian Service Medal with clasp Timor – Leste, the Australian Defence Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the NATO ISAF Medal. Private Palmer was also awarded the Returned from Active Service Badge from a previous deployment.

During Private Scott Travis Palmer's service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following Operations;

Operation Citadel (East Timor) – Feb – May 2003
Operation Catalyst (Middle East) – May – Nov 2005
Operation Astute (East Timor) – Mar – Jun 2007
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) – Nov 2007 – Jun 2008, Mar – Jul 2009 and Feb – Jun 2010.

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PRIVATE BENJAMIN CHUCK
Twenty-seven-year-old Private Chuck was from the Sydney-based 2nd Commando Regiment.

Private Chuck was born in Atherton, Queensland in 1983. He joined the Army on 11 May, 2004 as part of the Special Forces Direct Recruiting Scheme. On completion of his Commando Selection and Training Course and Reinforcement Cycle he was posted to the then 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) – now 2nd Commando Regiment. This was his third tour to Afghanistan and was serving with the SOTG. Private Chuck was an outstanding Commando who was highly trained and excelled at all he attempted. Private Chuck was the Patrol Medic within his sniper team. He was suited to this role as his affectionate and caring nature drove his passion for helping his mates.

Private Chuck has been awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp ICAT, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO ISAF Medal, the Infantry Combat Badge and the Australian Defence Medal. Private Chuck has also been awarded the Returned from Active Service Badge from his first deployment to Afghanistan.

During Private Benjamin Adam Chuck's service in the Australian Army Ben deployed on the following Operations;

Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) – May – Aug 2007,
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) – Jun – Nov 2008, and
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) – Feb – Jun 2010.

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PRIVATE TIMOTHY APLIN
Thirty-eight-year-old Private Aplin was from the Sydney-based 2nd Commando Regiment.

Private Aplin enlisted in the Australian Army Reserves on 04 Feb 1992. Private Aplin transferred to the Regular Army on 20 Sep 1995, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He successfully completed the Commando Selection and Training Course in 2008 and was posted to the then 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) in January 2009 after completing the Commando Reinforcement Cycle. To achieve this goal he willingly took the required reduction in rank from Sergeant to do this. Private Aplin was an outstanding and dedicated Commando who was highly respected. This was his second tour to Afghanistan and he was serving with the SOTG as a team demolitions specialist.

Private Aplin has been awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with East Timor, Iraq and ICAT clasps, the Infantry Combat Badge, United Nations Medal with Ribbon UNTAET, the IRAQ Campaign Medal, the Australian Defence Medal, the Defence Long Service Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Private Aplin has also been awarded the Returned from Active Service Badge from a previous deployment.

During Private Timothy James Aplin’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on the following Operations;

Operation Tanager (East Timor) in 2000,
Operation Bastille (Middle East) in 2003,
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) in 2009, and
Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) again in 2010.

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LANCE CORPORAL MASON EDWARDS
LCPL Edwards enlisted into the Australian Army in January 2004 as one of the first members of the Special Forces Direct Recruiting Scheme. After recruit and initial employment training, he successfully completed the Commando Selection and Training Course.

He was posted to the then 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando). Throughout his short but extremely busy career, LCPL Edwards proved himself to be a consummate professional. During his tours to Afghanistan he demonstrated considerable mental toughness and physical endurance whilst deployed on combat operations.

LCPL Edwards was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with clasp International Coalition Against Terrorism, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Australian Service Medal with clasp Timor Leste, the Australian Defence Medal, Timor Leste Solidarity Medal, the NATO medal with International Security Assistance Force clasp, the Infantry Combat badge and the Returned from Active Service Badge.

During LCPL Edwards service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following Operations:

OPERATION ASTUTE (Timor Leste) - 2006,
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) - 2007, and
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) - 2008.

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LIEUTENANT MICHAEL JOHN FUSSEL
Lieutenant Michael Fussell was born on 17 November, 1983 at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

Lieutenant Fussell enlisted in the Australian Army January 2002 and was appointed as an Officer Cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He completed a Bachelor of Arts and was a keen sportsman, with a strong interest in rugby.

He attended Royal Military College, Duntroon in 2005, commissioning in December 2005 into the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery. On graduation he was posted to ‘A’ Field Battery, 4th Field Regiment, where he fulfilled a number of junior officer roles.

During his time at ‘A’ Field Battery he qualified as a paratrooper. He also deployed to East Timor on Operation Astute in 2006 and 2007.

Lieutenant Fussell was posted to 4 RAR (Commando) in January 2008 as a Joint Offensive Support Team Commander. He was a Platoon Commander for the Advance Infantry Course at Singleton and completed the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) course.

Lieutenant Fussell’s military decorations include the Australian Active Service Medal with clasp International Campaign Against Terrorism (ICAT), the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Australian Service Medal clasp, Timor-Leste and the Australian Defence Medal.

Michael leaves behind two loving parents, his younger brother Daniel and two younger foster sisters Nikki and Nyah. His brother Daniel is a Lieutenant with 1st Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (RAA) in Brisbane.

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LANCE CORPORAL JASON MARKS
Lance Corporal Jason Marks enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on the 2 March 1999.

After initial training, he was posted to the 4th Field Regiment as a Gunner until 2003, whereupon he transferred to the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps as a Medical Assistant.

In 2005, he undertook Special Forces Entry and Commando Selection, after which he transferred to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and posted to the 4th Battalion (Commando), The Royal Australian Regiment.

Jason has seen operational service in East Timor and Afghanistan, where he has deployed to both theatres on more than one occasion.

Jason was awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry for the outstanding achievements of his unit during their deployment to Afghanistan as part of the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) in 2006.

Whilst deployed in Afghanistan as part of the SOTG in 2008, Jason was killed in action during a gun-battle with Taliban extremists.

Jason was a strong character who was determined to be the best he could be, striving for perfection and living for every moment. His memory was honoured in a memorial service held at 4RAR (Cdo) as friends, family and comrades recounted tales of his steadfastness, determination and humour.

He was survived by his wife and two children.

His name will be forever etched on the 4RAR (Cdo) rock and his memory never forgotten.

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PRIVATE LUKE WORSLEY
Private Luke Worsley enlisted into the Australian Regular Army on the 23 October 2001. After completing his Recruit Training he was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and commenced his Initial Employment Training at Singleton, New South Wales on 15 April 2002. At the completion of his Initial Employment Training, Luke was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. During his service with 1 RAR, Luke deployed to East Timor as part of Operation Citadel, providing security to the people of East Timor.

After two years of service with the 1st Battalion, and looking for more of a challenge, Luke applied for selection with the 4th Battalion, (Commando) The Royal Australian Regiment. He was successful in his attempt, and Luke went on to complete the Commando suite of courses, becoming ‘beret’ qualified in 2004.

Luke deployed with Delta Commando Company Group to Afghanistan in 2006. Upon return from his rotation, Luke was posted to Bravo Commando Company Group and deployed with them to Afghanistan in September 2007.

For his service in East Timor and Afghanistan, Luke was awarded the Australian Defence Medal, the Australian Active Service Medal with clasp East Timor the United Nations Medal with the United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor Ribbon, the International Coalition Against Terrorism Clasp, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Infantry Combat Badge and the Return from Active Service Badge. Luke was also awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry for his service with the Special Operations Task Group in 2006.

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SERGEANT GARY FRANCIS
SGT Gary Francis, from the Sydney-based 2nd Commando Regiment, died during a training activity on Mount Cook in New Zealand on July 16, 2014

The 44-year-old former Royal Marine was leading a group of 10 Commandos on a two-week Mountain and Cold Weather Operations (MACWO) exercise when he plunged 40 metres down a crevasse on the Grand Plateau.

Sergeant Francis was leading his team on a crevasse rescue exercise at the time of his death. During the rescue exercise the team would climb down into the crevasse and then use one member as the patient for the extraction exercise.

Normally the team would be roped together for the actual exercise but Sgt Francis was surveying the crevasse for its suitability when the crust gave way and snow collapsed around him.

Another commando, who is also a former Royal Marine, led the recovery of his mates body and the men administered first aid but sadly were unable to revive him.

Sgt Francis had been the ADF’s MACWO subject matter expert since January 2011, a year after joining 2nd Commando Regiment at Holsworthy.

The Englishman, originally from Welling in South East London, previously spent 13 years in the British military as a Royal Marine Commando Mountain Leader before moving to Australia in 2010.

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PRIVATE GREGORY SHER
Private Sher was born in South Africa in 1978 and moved to Australia with his family in 1986. He joined the Army in 1998 as an Army Reserve infantryman and deployed to East Timor in 2002. In 2004 he completed the commando selection course and joined the 1st Commando Regiment, going on to complete the suite of Special Forces courses required to become a qualified commando.

For his service in East Timor, Private Sher received the Australian Active Service Medal, the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor Medal and the Infantry Combat Badge. Private Sher has also been awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO Medal with ISAF Clasp, the Australian Defence Medal and the Returned from Active Service Badge.

Private Sher leaves behind his parents, two brothers and a partner, who are currently receiving support from Defence.
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