Australia — Special Operations Combat Engineer killed in Afghanistan

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.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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