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September 2, 2010
ADF mourns tragic losses
THE ADF has been busy with
the sad duty of bringing home
Australian soldiers killed in action
in Afghanistan in what has been a
tragic period over recent weeks.
On August 18, after a long flight
from the Middle East, a C-17 from Air
Force's 36 Squadron touched down
at RAAF Base Pearce bearing the
flag draped coffin of SAS TPR Jason
TPR Brown, 29, was carried off
the aircraft by his mates to his family,
Defence personnel and VIPs waiting in
Defence Minister John Faulkner,
Shadow Minister for Defence David
Johnston, acting CDF LTGEN David
Hurley, Chief of Army LTGEN Ken
Gillespie and MAJGEN Tim McOwan
attended the ramp ceremony.
TPR Brown died as a result of mul-
tiple gun-shot wounds sustained during
an engagement with Taliban insurgents
on August 13.
LTGEN Gillespie spoke of the
significance of the ramp ceremony in
returning TPR Brown to his family.
"It's a ceremony where we wel-
come home one of our fallen soldiers
for two families; his birth family and
immediate family, but more broadly
his Army family," he said.
"It's a simple service where both
families recognise the sacrifice he has
MAJGEN McOwan said TPR
Brown's death affected the entire spe-
cial operations community.
"Our great commiserations and
sympathies are extended to Jason's
immediate family, but certainly to the
wider members of Special Operations
Command -- indeed the Army.
"Especially to his compatriots,
his warrior brothers in Afghanistan, I
wish to also extend my heartfelt com-
miserations to those individuals too,"
MAJGEN McOwan said.
"They are back in the saddle out
there operating and taking the fight to
the enemy, and they are looking after
the people of Afghanistan. They are
doing a wonderful job and I would ask
them to continue the wonderful job
they are doing."
A requiem mass for TPR Brown
was held at the Queen of Peace
Catholic Church in Normanhurst on
Only days after TPR Brown's
death, two Australian soldiers from
the Brisbane-based 6th Battalion,
Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR),
were killed when they were struck
by an improvised explosive device
(IED) while providing over-watch for
an operation by fellow members of
their patrol in the Baluchi Valley on
August 20, at approximately 10.30am
PTE Tomas Dale, 21, and PTE
Grant Kirby, 35, had left their
Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle
when the IED detonated.
Two other Australian soldiers were
wounded in the attack, however, their
wounds were not considered life-
During a service at the
Multinational Base Tarin Kowt on
August 24, Commander Joint Task
Force 633, MAJGEN John Cantwell,
said the two soldiers were fondly
remembered by their mates -- not just
as highly regarded soldiers but as
brothers to them all.
"The service highlighted just how
close-knit the soldiers from the 1st
Mentoring Task Force have become
after almost seven months of opera-
tions," he said.
"Tomas and Grant were separated
by a few years and had quite naturally
fallen into the role of youngest and
oldest brothers in their section.
"Losing anyone is hard, but los-
ing two people close enough to be
considered as brothers, in every sense
of that word, is especially difficult
and it will be a real test for those who
need to continue with this fight in their
MAJGEN Cantwell said Tomas'
and Grant's section mates were trans-
ported from their outlying patrol base
to attend the service and wish their
mates a final farewell before their jour-
ney back to Australia.
After transiting through the
Australian Support Area at Al Minhad
Air Base in the United Arab Emirates,
they arrived at RAAF Base Amberley
on August 27.
On August 24, LCPL Jared
MacKinney, also from 6RAR, was
killed while operating as a mentor to
the Afghan National Army during a
partnered patrol in the Deh Rawud
region when the patrol was engaged
in an intense firefight with Taliban
LCPL MacKinney was part of a
dismounted patrol in the green zone
when they were fired on by a number
of insurgents and was killed early in
On August 21, two soldiers from
the 1st Mentoring Task Force were
wounded when an IED detonated
against their Bushmaster Protected
Mobility Vehicle in the Baluchi Valley
region of Uruzgan Province.
Twenty-one Australian soldiers
have been killed in action since opera-
tions in Afghanistan began, with 149
soldiers wounded during this period.
TPR Jason Brown
PTE Grant Kirby
PTE Tomas Dale
LCPL Jared MacKinney
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