4 April 2011

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Medal entitlement of Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith
Australian Special Air Service Regiment
  • Victoria Cross for Australia
  • Medal for Gallantry
  • Australian Active Service Medal ( 1975- )
    • 3 clasps:
    • 'East Timor' - 'Iraq 2003' - 'ICAT'
  • INTERFET Medal ( 2000 )
    • International Forces East Timor
  • Afghanistan Medal ( 2004 )
  • Iraq Medal ( 2004 )
  • Australian Defence Medal ( 2006 )
  • UNTAET Medal ( 1999 )
    • UN Forces East Timor
  • NATO Medal ( 2007 )
    • clasp: 'ISAF' ( Afghanistan )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal ( 2012 )

Before returning for duty in Aghanistan Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith, Australian Special Air Service Regiment, has decided to donate his Victoria Cross and campaign medals to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith, VC, MG, enlisted in the Australian Army on 11 November 1996 and after completing his training at the School of Infantry at Singleton, New South Wales, was posted to the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment ( 3RAR ) where he served as a Rifleman in C Company. During his tenure with 3RAR, Corporal Roberts-Smith deployed twice as part of the Rifle Company Butterworth Malaysia, and conducted two operational tours of East Timor including INTERFET in 1999.

In 2003, Corporal Roberts-Smith completed the SASR selection course and was selected to commence the Special Air Service Regiment ( SASR ) reinforcement cycle. On completion of the reinforcement cycle, he was posted to 3 Squadron, where he served as a member of the Tactical Assault Group West and the Contingency Squadron. While with 3 Squadron, Corporal Roberts-Smith was a member of a number of training and assistance teams throughout South East Asia. He was deployed on operations to Fiji in 2004, and has also deployed on Recovery Operations, as well as a number of personnel security detachments in Iraq throughout 2005 / 2006.

In 2006 Corporal Roberts-Smith was deployed as part of the Special Operations Task Group ( SOTG ) in Afghanistan where he was subsequently awarded the Medal of Gallantry. He was again deployed with the SOTG in Afghanistan in 2007, and on his return was posted to Operational Support Squadron as a member of the Selection Wing where he took part in the training of SASR Reinforcements. In 2009, Corporal Roberts-Smith was then posted to 2 Squadron where he deployed as a patrol second in command to Afghanistan. Upon his return, Corporal Roberts-Smith completed the SASR Patrol Commanders Course, and in 2010 was again deployed with the SOTG in Afghanistan.

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Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith VC, MG.

Australian VC holders

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Corporal Mark Donaldson VC
Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith VC, MG
Warrant Office II Keith Payne VC

It is notified for general information that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the award of the 'Victoria Cross for Australia' to: Corporal Benjamin ROBERTS-SMITH MG, WA

[ Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 24 January 2011 ], Tizak, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 11 June 2010, Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith MG, Australian Special Air Service Regiment.

For the most conspicuous gallantry and daring in the face of the enemy while in circumstances of extreme peril as a Patrol Second-in-Command, Special Operations Task Group on Operation SLIPPER.

Demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry in action in the face of a very determined and aggressive enemy and with total disregard for his own safety, Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith initiated an assault against an elevated fortification consisting of three enemy machine gun positions and superior numbers of heavily armed insurgents.

With members of his patrol pinned down by the three enemy machine gun positions, he knowingly and willingly exposed his position in order to draw fire away from his team mates and enabled them to apply fire against the enemy. Fighting at ranges as close as 20 metres, he seized the advantage and, demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry and with total disregard for his own safety, Corporal Roberts-Smith stormed two enemy machine gun positions killing both machine gun teams.

His selfless actions in circumstances of great peril served to enable his patrol to break into the enemy’s defences and to regain the initiative, thereby resulting in a tactical victory against an enemy more than three times the size of the ground force.

Benjamin Roberts-Smith was invested with his Victoria Cross for Australia by Her Excellency the Governor General of Australia, Ms Quinten Bryce AC, at Campbell Barracks, Special Air Service Regiment Headquarters, Swanbourne, Western Australia, on the 23rd January 2011.

( select to enlarge ). Lance Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith being invested with his 'Medal for Gallantry' in December 2006.

[ Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, xx xxxx xxxx ], For the award of the Medal for Gallantry, Lance-Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith, Australian Special Air Service Regiment

For gallantry in action in hazardous circumstances as a patrol sniper in the Special Operations Task Group – Task Force 637, whilst deployed on Operation SLIPPER Rotation Three Afghanistan, May – September 2006.

On the night of 31st May 2006, Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith was employed as a patrol scout and sniper in a patrol which was tasked with establishing an Observation Post near the Chora Pass in extremely rugged terrain overlooking an Anti Coalition Militia sanctuary.

Early in the patrol, after an arduous ten hour foot infiltration up the side of a mountain, the patrol was required to coordinate offensive air support to assist a combined Special Operations Task Group and other Special Forces patrol who were in contact with the Anti Coalition Militia in the valley floor to their north. Following this engagement the patrol remained in the Observation Post to continue providing vital information on the Anti Coalition Militia in the area. This comprehensive reporting had a significant effect on shaping the local area for the subsequent coalition forces operation.

On the 2nd June 2006, the Observation Post had become the focus of the Anti Coalition Militia force and repeated attempts to locate and surround the position ensued. In one particular incident the Militia attempted to outflank the Observation Post. Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith was part of a two man team tasked to move out of their relatively secure Observation Post in order to locate and neutralise the Militia and regain the initiative. This task was successfully achieved.

In another incident, two Anti Coalition Militia attempted to attack the Observation Post from a different flank, Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith again moved to support and neutralise one of these Militia. Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith then realised that the forward edge of the Observation Post was not secure and made the decision to split the team and take up an exposed position forward of the patrol so he could effectively employ his sniper weapon. Whilst isolated, and in his precarious position, he observed a group of sixteen Anti Coalition Militia advancing across open ground towards the Observation Post. Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith effectively employed his sniper rifle to stop their advance whilst receiving very accurate small arms fire from another group of Militia to his flank. Through his efforts, Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith maintained the initiative and ensured that his patrol remained secure by holding this position without support for twenty minutes. He was eventually reinforced by his original team member and together they continued to hold off the Militia advance for a further twenty minutes until offensive air support arrived.

Lance Corporal Roberts Smith’s actions on the 2nd June 2006, whilst under heavy Anti Coalition Militia fire and in a precarious position, threatened by a numerically superior force, are testament to his courage, tenacity and sense of duty to his patrol. His display of gallantry in disregarding his own personal safety in maintaining an exposed sniper position under sustained fire with a risk of being surrounded by the Anti Coalition Militia was outstanding. His actions, in order to safeguard his patrol, were of the highest order and in keeping with the finest traditions of Special Operations Command Australia, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.


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Iain Stewart, 4 April 2011