The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, today congratulated Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith on being awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia.
Speaking at the Investiture Ceremony at Campbell Barracks in Perth, Air Chief Marshal Houston said Corporal Roberts-Smith had brought great credit to himself, the Australian Army, the Special Air Service Regiment and the Australian Defence Force.
“Today, we in the military feel great admiration and respect for the extreme valour shown by Corporal Roberts-Smith and we are honoured to call him one of our own,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“In choosing to serve our nation, the men and women of the Australian Defence Force display courage, initiative and self-sacrifice every day. But in Afghanistan on the 11th of June 2010, Corporal Roberts-Smith went far beyond what we would ordinarily expect.
“In the most dangerous and demanding of situations – when his patrol was outnumbered and his life and the lives of his mates were under extreme threat – Corporal Roberts-Smith cast aside concern for his own safety. He placed his mates’ lives above his own.”
Air Chief Marshal Houston said that within the military it was a mark of the utmost respect that all, no matter their rank, saluted a Victoria Cross recipient.
“It is a great source of delight to me that, as of today, there are now two serving members of the Australian Defence Force I have the great honour to salute,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith, VC, MG, we are enormously proud of you.”
Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie remarked on the tremendous humility shown by Corporal Roberts-Smith.
“All Australian Soldiers should feel tremendously proud of the actions of Corporal Roberts-Smith, and the recognition that the award of the Victoria Cross represents. The valour of his actions and those of the other members of his patrol, are exemplars of the very best in Australian soldiering,” Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie said.
“He is a soldier who embodies Army’s values of Courage, Initiative, and Teamwork and the ethos of the Special Air Service Regiment. He is held in the highest esteem by his peers, subordinates and superiors alike for his personal attributes and his professionalism.
Corporal Roberts-Smith said he was honoured and humbled.
“I am so very proud to have taken part in the action with my mates. This award also belongs to them and to the Regiment,” Corporal Roberts-Smith said.
“To my family, my beautiful wife Emma and our baby girls, Eve and Elizabeth, thank you for your enduring support and encouragement.”
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