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SERVING AUSTRALIA WITH PRIDE NEWS
November 8, 2012
SGT Dave Morley
A FORMER 6RAR soldier became the
third Australian from the Afghanistan
conflict to receive the Victoria Cross
for Australia at an investiture ceremony
at Government House on November 1.
CPL Dan Keighran was awarded
the Commonwealth's highest honour
for his actions at Derapet in Uruzgan
province on August 24, 2010.
Governor-General Quentin Bryce
told those present at the ceremony that
"when we look at CPL Keighran we
see a man of profound physical and
"When we listen to your citation
the image is confronting and power-
ful," she said.
CPL Keighran said he was
extremely honoured and proud to
receive the award, but said it was as
much for his mates as for himself.
"I wouldn't be here today if it
wasn't for the boys with me," he said.
He now works in a gold mine at
Kalgoorlie and has joined the Army
Reserve with 11/28RWAR.
"I haven't seen the 6RAR soldiers
for a couple of years, so it will be good
after all of this to have a chat," he said.
The medal presented to CPL
Keighran only arrived from London at
9.15am on the day of his investiture.
CDF GEN David Hurley said the
battle at Derapet showed there was
nothing simple in war.
"His clarity and composure spread
to those around him," he said.
"The fighting at Derapet was
among the most intense experienced in
CPL Scott James Smith, who was killed
in Afghanistan on October 21, returned
home to his family and comrades in
a solemn ceremony at RAAF Base
Richmond on October 28.
Members of CPL Smith's unit met
the RAAF C-17A aircraft and formed
an honour guard and bearer party to
escort his casket to his family.
CPL Smith was received by his fam-
ily, members of the Special Operations
Engineering Regiment (SOER), CDF GEN
David Hurley, CA LTGEN David Morrison
and Special Operations Commander
Australia MAJGEN Gus Gilmore.
His family released a statement
after his death describing him as "the
loveable character that held the family
"We knew the Army was Scott's
second family -- his home away from
"Scott truly believed his actions
made a difference; he was a truly dedi-
cated soldier who also knew how to
relax in his time away from work."
CPL Smith, 24, from SOER, based
at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney,
was killed by an IED during a mission
in northern Helmand province.
The Chief of Joint Operations,
LTGEN Ash Power, said CPL Smith was
part of a small team tasked with clear-
ing a suspected insurgent compound
when the incident occurred.
"The compound was quickly
assessed to be an IED factory and the
commander on the ground made the
decision to extract his personnel due
to the high risk the area posed," LTGEN
"During the withdrawal from the
compound an improvised explosive
device detonated, killing CPL Smith
LTGEN Power said the buildings
within the compound were subsequent-
ly destroyed by precision ground fire
from supporting ISAF units.
"CPL Smith was a highly trained,
experienced, Special Forces engineer --
his work had made the way safe for his
comrades," he said.
CPL Keighran deployed to Afghanistan
in February 2010 with 6RAR. On 24
August 2010 he was a member of a
partnered fighting patrol with soldiers of
the Afghan National Army's 1st Kandak,
4th Brigade, 205th (Hero) Corps which
was engaged by a numerically superior
and coordinated enemy attack from
multiple firing points in three separate
locations. The attack was initiated by a
high volume of sustained and accurate
machine gun and small-arms fire which
pinned down the patrol and caused a
loss of momentum.
In the early stages of the attack,
and upon realising that the forward
elements of the patrol needed effective
fire support, Cpl Keighran and another
patrol member moved under sustained
and accurate enemy fire to an exposed
ridgeline to identify enemy locations and
direct the return fire of both Australian
and Afghan machine guns.
On reaching this position and with
complete disregard for his own wellbe-
ing, Cpl Keighran deliberately drew
enemy fire by leaving the limited cover
he had and moved over the ridgeline in
order to positively identify targets for
the machine gunners of the combined
patrol. After identifying some of the
enemy firing positions, Cpl Keighran,
under persistent enemy fire, continued
to lead and mentor his team and move
around the ridge to both direct the fire
of the Afghan and Australian machine
gunners and to move them to more
effective firing positions.
As the intensity of enemy fire grew,
Cpl Keighran returned to the crest of the
ridgeline to identify targets and adjust
the fire of ASLAVs. His actions resulted
in the effective suppression of enemy
firing points, which assisted in turning
the fight in the favour of the combined
patrol. Moving to a new position, Cpl
Keighran deliberately and repeatedly
again exposed himself to heavy enemy
fire to assist in target identification
and the marking of the forward line of
troops for fire support elements while
simultaneously engaging the enemy.
Realising that the new position pro-
vided a better location for the patrol's
joint fire controller, Cpl Keighran moved
over 100m across exposed parts of
the ridgeline, attracting a high volume
of accurate enemy fire, to locate and
move the fire controller to the new posi-
tion. He then rose from cover again to
expose his position on four successive
occasions, each movement drawing
more intense fire, in order to assist
in the identification of a further three
enemy firing points that were engaged
by fire support elements.
During one of these occasions,
when his patrol sustained an Australian
casualty, Cpl Keighran, with complete
disregard for his own safety, left his
position of cover on the ridgeline to
deliberately draw fire away from the
team treating the casualty. Cpl Keighran
remained exposed and under heavy
fire while traversing the ridgeline, in
order to direct suppressing fire and
then assist in the clearance of the land-
ing zone to enable evacuation of the
For the full citation, go to www.defence.
yield third VC
EXCERPT FROM THE CITATION
FULL OF ADMIRATION: Governor-General Quentin Bryce presents CPL
Daniel Keighran with the Victoria Cross.
Photos: Lauren Black
"The fighting at
Sad homecoming for another hero
BOLD START: Caption here.. Photo: XXXX
SOLEMN CEREMONY: The bearer party
carries CPL Scott Smith's casket off an Air
Force C-17 at RAAF Base Richmond; inset,
a portrait of CPL Scott.
Main photo: LCPL Matthew Bickerton
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