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Australian SAS: Trooper Mark Donaldson VC.
Australian SAS. Trooper Mark Donaldson. VC.
The Australian Special Air Service (ASAS) has many brave men. One of which is Trooper Mark Donaldson VC. Trooper Donaldson was responsible for a most daring act of bravery, which saved the life of a young interpreter in Afghanistan.
On 2 September 2008, Trooper Donalson was part of a patrol which included American, Afghan and Australian soldiers. The patrol were ambushed by Taliban forces and was immediately pinned down, there was no chance of escape, desperate measures were called for. The troops were vastly outnumbered and under attack from all sides. AK-47 machine guns as well as Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) were used against them, they were taking casualties. After a two hour firefight many men were seriously wounded, as their situation became worse Donaldson knew something had to be done. He then decided on his action.
The Human Targets.
Returning fire with his M4 rifle Donaldson exposed his position to the Taliban and deliberately turned himself into a human target. His diversion worked well, injured men were pulled to safety and the patrol was able break through and start to move. Vehicles and men began a four kilometre struggle across Oruzgan Province. The Taliban were still with them and the firefight raged on. Their vehicles were loaded with wounded men injured by bullets, grenades and shrapnell. Uninjured soldiers including Donaldson had to run alongside the armoured vehicles returning fire, they were fully exposed to the Taliban fire at all times.
One Man Is Missing.
During what must have felt like a living hell Donaldson was told that a young interpreter had been left behind. He turned and went back for the man. With complete disregard for himself Trooper Donaldson began to run, he was immediately spotted by the enemy who then concentrated fire upon him. After racing for approximately eighty metres over completely exposed ground he found the wounded man. He picked up the young interepreter and carried him back to the relative safety of the patrol. He then gave the man emergency first aid, having done that Trooper Donaldson joined the rest of the patrol to carry on the fight. For this action witnessed by so many, Trooper Mark Donaldson was awarded the Victoria Cross.
His citation reads: 'Trooper Donaldson's acts of exceptional gallantry in the face of accurate and sustained enemy fire ultimately saved the life of a coalition force interpreter and ensured the safety of the other members of the combined Afghan, US and Australian Forces. Trooper Donaldson's actions on this day displayed exceptional courage in circumstances of great peril'
The Victoria Cross is the UK and Commonwealth's highest military decoration.
© 2012 Graham Lee