A 23-year-old Combat Engineer serving with the Special Operations Task Group was shot and killed during a period of sustained combat with insurgents yesterday.
The soldier was participating in a partnered Afghan National Police and Special Operations Task Group mission to interdict insurgent supplies and routes in Northern Helmand.
The incident occurred after the partnered patrol uncovered one of the largest insurgent caches found by Australian Special Forces this year.
The patrol had moved from the area where the cache was found to another location of interest when the patrol came under fire and the soldier was shot.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, offered his condolences to the family of the fallen soldier on behalf of all the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.
“The courageous young man was on his second tour in Afghanistan, having previously deployed with Reconstruction Task Force‑3 in 2007,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“I understand he was a superb young man whose easy-going nature made him very popular within his unit. He was also a great team player—dedicated and professional, whose range of skills and qualifications were more than you could rightly expect of someone so young.”
Air Chief Marshal Houston said at the request of the family, the soldier’s name had not yet been released.
“Though nothing will ease this family’s sense of loss, I want them to know that their loved one, his SOTG mates and their Afghan National Police partners were undertaking vital work in Afghanistan yesterday,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“They found a massive insurgent cache which contained anti-personnel mines, rocket propelled grenade launchers and ammunition, assault rifles, communications equipment and components for the manufacture of IEDs.
“The discovery and destruction of this massive cache will undoubtedly prevent other casualties and will impede the insurgency in northern Helmand and Uruzgan.”
Air Chief Marshal Houston said the Australian Defence Force was now focusing its efforts on doing all it could to support the soldier’s family as they grieve.
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