The First in 40 Years!

Our first VC winner in 40 years – for action in Afghanistan!

The legend lives on – well done Digger!

I had half expected the VC after reading reports of the action, this was a cool, brave, deliberate act under enemy fire.  Just for those that don’t know Trooper is equal to a Private but ALL ADF members of whatever rank salute the VC…

Story here:

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,24920256-421,00.html

TB

 

 

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12 Responses

  1. The highest military honour for a brave and selfless act, he should be very proud and he’d probably be the first one to say I didn’t set out to be a hero. It’s amazing how people become willing to sacrifice their own lives to save others.

    Sadly, the same type of heroism probably is being displayed by ordinary civilians in war-torn countries, but they won’t be honoured.

    That doesn’t take away from the honour this soldier has received. In fact, it’s this type of bravery and sacrifice that needs to be acknowledged more widely in society.

    It honours everything that is good and right.

  2. Trooper Donaldson is now one of only three living VCs and the only one who’s been awarded the Victoria Cross of Australia. Certainly, an historical figure and ought to be congratulated by all Australians.

    But, and there always should be a ‘but’, because perfection is never attained. My concern relates to the ADF and how they managed this unique reward. If you go to the citation.

    http://www.defence.gov.au/special_events/TPR_markDonaldson.htm

    You will see that Donaldson’s achievements go beyond anything mentioned in the MSM to date. For example, who knows that:

    “On 12 august 2008, Trooper Donaldson was wounded in action whilst conducting nightime (sic) operations in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan.”

    Already wounded in action, yet the MSM seem to have ignored that ‘fact’. Yet that wounding didn’t deter him from further acts of bravery. While I haven’t seen the press release, it seems to me that the previous wounding should have surfaced as further evidence of his ‘fearlessness’. As for the spelling of ‘nightime’. (sic); really this is a citation – part of the historical record – one would think they could get the spelling right.

    Then there is the citation itself and the wording that will be sliced and diced for years to come. On two occasions it says:

    “drew intense and accurate machine gun fire”

    ‘Accurate’? ‘Well clearly it wasn’t ‘accurate’ machine gun fire as is clearly demonstrated by the outcome. He wasn’t wounded either going to or coming back carrying an injured man. The ADF might have considered other wording. I suspect they meant ‘intense’ or ‘sustained’ or whatever but certainly not ‘accurate’

    Donaldson deserves better!

  3. Trooper Donaldson, for what it’s worth, I salute you. If a salute’s inappropriate from an ordinary civilian, then I’d love to buy you a drink. Or two.

  4. And while I am in the mood to be ‘picky’, I see that the MSM reports that the VC was awarded:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/featuredCrisis/idUSSYD423371

    “from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Australia’s head of state Quentin Bryce and military commanders”

    which is crap. The Australian VC was awarded by Quentin Bryce, the first Australian woman ever to award a VC. Rudd and the military commanders were mere spectators. And their role should have been reported that way.

    Can the MSM ever get it ‘accurate’? Maybe not, because the ADF can’t. Lol.

    What is more troubling and at a deeper and more significant level is Rudd’s following of Howard’s disgraceful example of overtly ‘politicising’ the ADF. Certainly it’s by association but I expected better.

  5. Winning a VC is no easy thing and apparently even the Brass fawn and grovel to the wearer of one.

    I like the dude who won both a VC and an Iron Cross.

    Not a bad effort eh?

    His name was Manley and he got his VC in the Maori wars in 1864 and his Iron Cross in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. I kid you not.

    He didn’t have to shoot at anyone to get ’em either, as he was a surgeon and decorated on both occasions for services to the wounded (once by the Brits and once by the Hun).

    Now if only Trooper Donaldson could manage to pick-up the Abu Semtex Medal from the Taliban in addition to his VC, he’d be right up there with the manly Mr.Manley.

  6. I “appreciate” the pickiness! N5 but that’s more related to poor education of our journalists and senior ADF officers over the last couple of decades…than the award of a VC…and the Trooper Donaldson’s bravery and courage…

    I was, however, surprised at the speed of the citation – maybe the brass didn’t want another John Simpson debacle – then again we didn’t have to go running off to the Poms for approval from the landed gentry in the Officers Club this time…and about time

    Evan, “fawn and grovel”? Try “respect” for the soldier, the deed (or, as N5 points out deeds) and the the Victoria Cross…

    BTW Abu Semtex Medal IS funny!

    Thanks for the reference to, Manley, Evan, just did a bit of research – I see he was born in Ireland won 18 medals including medals from France and – wait for it – Afghanistan – he then refused a knighthood for “economic” reasons – he certainly got around…

    Anyway – we detract from Trooper Donaldson…and I believe he is right up there with Dr Manley…VC’s are awarded for valour under exceptional circumstances…and is the only medal for bravery under fire awarded to any rank…

    …and you don’t have to shoot people to demonstrate courage under fire…the enemy just has to try and shoot you!

  7. TB, when I heard about this I immediately thought of you.

    And re another comment.. the brass aka superior officers having to fawn and grovel, it’s a biggie when an officer salutes first. I hope that I have this right TB. Was just thinking of the matelot at Cerberus. We were walking to the afternoon tea provided. A car drove up and all personnel suddenly jumped to attention. Hubby and I found ourselves walking alone with son still stock still on the curbside. Ans: That was an officer.

    I guess that unless one has been in the defence forces or has been a defence force family that it is difficult to understand why some things are so important.

  8. Min, on January 17th, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Absolutely, Min, and when you know why, absolutely necessary (in some cases – to save lives). Not saluting but discipline, rules and obeying standing orders…(no pun intended…)

    I did once joke about the toilet blocks in the Army during my NS days – on one side was a sign that said Officers, and on the other, it said Men – In my well known flippant tone – I was heard to remark, (unfortunately by a nearby officer) “…does that mean officers aren’t men?…”

    …I wasn’t charged (completely clean record on discharge) but it was very close…

  9. Yes indeed TB that was close. I have my father’s WW2 record (a gunner) and he was fined £2/5 and sixpence for AWOL (he was visiting his future wife, my mother) and was a couple of hours late.

    Hubby’s grandfather was a Rat of Tobruk. However, he was an Italian Rat of Tobruk having never obtained Australian citizenship but instead borrowed his cousin’s citizenship papers.

  10. Min, on January 17th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    …never obtained Australian citizenship but instead borrowed his cousin’s citizenship papers….

    LOL! Luv it! Italian too!

    Think I’ve mentioned before I didn’t apply for Australian Citizenship until two years AFTER I was discharged…the ponce at Australia House gave me a right third degree, until I threw my Discharge at him…stamp, stamp, done!

  11. You’re right about Donaldson, TB, he’s a brave one.

    I was just having a bit of fun.

    Like the Cerberus story and that about the military dunnies. They’re a very class-conscious lot, that’s for sure. Reminds me of a story my brother, a 23-year Air Force non-com once told me:

    He was a Flt Sgt at the time and he and an Airman had been called into the Lt’s office at Tindal to discuss something. The office was hot and full of flies. The Airman started waving them away from his face, when my brother turned to him and said: “Now don’t go swatting the officer’s flies”.

    The Lt had a sense of humour and just laughed.

  12. Evan, on January 17th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    LOL! Mil humour at its best!

    …or my brother-in-law, a cook (a Warrant Officer at the time) on one of the NQ joint exercise…

    …an American officer turned up at the mess tent and asked if they had any water melons – my b-i-l , said, not sure, what do they look like?.. 😉

    …the officer said, oh, they’re red inside and green on the outside and they’re about this big…

    …b-i-l said – oh! We call those grapes in Oz, sir!

    Officer never knew – but he was handed two grapes for his troops/trouble…he probably wondered what all the giggling was about as he left!

    Poor bugger died at 46 (heart attack) he went in at 17 as a Private cook and 22 years later resigned as a Captain and a chef – hotels in Townsville and the ADF used his skills as a consultant…only the good die young…with respect to Trooper Donaldson of course!

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