Another Aussie Digger Killed in Afghanistan 10 July 2010:(

Monday, Jun 21, 2010 at 17:29

Sir Kev

Aussie soldier killed in Afghanistan
Saturday, July 10, 2010 » 09:26am

A member of the 1st Mentoring Task Force has been killed by an improvised explosives device in Afghanistan.

Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston has confirmed that a member of the 1st Mentoring Task Force has been killed by an improvised explosives device in Afghanistan.

He was killed just before midnight (AEST) on Friday.

Authorities are not releasing his name yet but his family has been informed.

A second man was wounded and he remains in a stable condition.

The man killed was a 23-year-old from NSW who was based in Brisbane.

The soldiers were part of an Australian patrol conducting operations in the Chora Valley in the Uruzgan province. The incident occurred in an area known as the green zone.

First aid was provided to both men immediately.

The 23-year-old was rapidly evacuated to Tarin Kowt for further medical treatment. He arrived there within 41 minutes but was declared deceased on arrival.

The man who was wounded was also taken to Tarin Kowt where he remains in a satisfactory condition.

The scene was secured in order to conduct a post-blast investigation.

No further details are available at this time

Three Australian soldiers have been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, just a fortnight after two other diggers died in a roadside bomb blast in the war torn country.

Ten were on board the chopper, Defence Chief Air Marshal Angus Houston told reporters.

Monday, June 21, 2010 » 05:42pm

Three Australian soldiers have been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, just a fortnight after the deaths of Darren Smith and Jacob Moreland in a roadside bomb blast.

The Australian death toll in Afghanistan now stands at 16.

A total of 10 Australians were among the 15 on board the coalition chopper, Defence Chief Air Marshal Angus Houston told reporters.

Air Chief Marshal Houston says the three deaths are not the result of enemy action.

Seven of the Australians were injured, with two seriously wounded, he said.

One is in surgery while the other is in intensive care.

Another ISAF soldier - from another country - was also killed, Defence Minister John Faulkner said.

Senator Faulkner urged all Australians to take stock of the loss.

'I ask all Australians to today take time to think of these soldiers, their families and all the members of our defence forces who are serving their nation overseas,' he said.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said Australia would not be deterred.

'We have suffered over the past week, but we remain firmly committed to serving our nation to the best of our ability,' he said.

Asked if the deaths brought into question the government's commitment to the war, Senator Faulkner was unflinching.

He said it was 'important to stabilise Afghanistan'.

'We remain very committed to our operational objectives in Afghanistan,' Senator Faulkner said.

'I think these objectives, these specific goals, these reasons for being in Afghanistan remain of very great importance.'

The government's main goal in the central Asian nation is to train Afghanis to take control of their nation.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said while he didn't want to speculate on the cause of the accident, there was some problem with the helicopter. He would also not detail the type of helicopter involved.

'High altitude, rugged terrain, high temperatures and, I guess, heavily laden helicopters,' he said.

'I'm not sure what happened, that will be subject to investigation. Sufficed to say three o'clock in the morning, nighttime and what the weather was like, all of that will be the subject of investigation.

'I wouldn't want to speculate on what the cause was at this early stage.

'These three people who were killed earlier today were killed as a consequence of some problem with the helicopter'

Air Chief Marshal HOUSTON says other coalition helicopters

carrying Australian troops are in the vicinity of the chopper which

went down.

He says these helicopters were able to land immediately ..

secure the area and evacuate the wounded.

Of the seven troops being treated for their wounds .. two are

very seriously wounded .. with one undergoing surgery and one in

intensive care at an ICAF medical facility.

Those two .. along with a third soldier who's less seriously

wounded .. will be moved to a US military hospital in Bagram later

today when their conditions have stabilised.

The dead soldiers were members of the 2nd commando regiment

who'd done three tours of Afghanistan.

Air Chief Marshal HOUSTON has described the men as fine soldiers

.. while expressing condolences to their families.

He says the ADF is doing everything it can to support them at

this time .. but obviously .. they're very shocked and very


Air Chief Marshal HOUSTON says the highly experienced soldiers

had previously served in Afghanistan .. saying time after time ..

they'd taken the fight to the enemy with courage and determination.

He says he has nothing but admiration and respect for these very

brave and committed Australians.

Air Chief Marshal HOUSTON has sent a message of support to

members of the Special Operations Task Group .. saying he's

immensely proud of their efforts .. and he greatly respects what

they've been able to achieve.

Wounded soldiers improving
22 June 2010

Four of the commandos wounded in the helicopter crash in northern Kandahar in southern Afghanistan which claimed the lives of three Australians, are now in a satisfactory condition.

Two more commandos remain in a very serious condition and are being treated in intensive care while another is listed as serious. Six of the seven injured underwent surgery yesterday.

The types of injuries sustained include fractures, lacerations, crush injuries and a head injury.

An investigation is underway into the cause of the incident however it is not believed to be the result of insurgent action. The commandos were from the 2nd Regiment based in Sydney.

"We have suffered over the past week, but we remain firmly committed to serving our nation to the very best of our ability," said Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston on Monday evening.

A decision has not yet been made as to when any or all of the injured soldiers will be moved to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in Germany. No move will occur before their condition allow it .

Planning for the repatriation of the three fallen Australian soldiers has begun however the date for the return to Australia has not been confirmed.

The soldiers had just last week been involved in a large scale offensive against Taliban insurgents in the district of Shah Wali Kot which resulted in significant disruption to a key supply route into Oruzgan province.

The tragedy comes a fortnight after the deaths of Sapper Jacob Moerland, 21, and Sapper Darren Smith, 26, from the Brisbane-based 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment who were serving with the 1st Mentoring Task Force and died as a result of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated on June 8.

Sixteen Australians have now lost their lives since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 » 08:18am

The brother of one of three Australian commandos killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan says being in the army had transformed his sibling's life.

Private Ben Chuck, 27, was killed along with comrades Private Tim Aplin, 38, and Private Scott Palmer, 27, when their helicopter crashed while on a mission in Afghanistan's dangerous Kandahar province in the early hours of Monday morning.

All were members of the Sydney-based 2nd Commando Regiment (formerly the 4RAR).

Private Chuck's brother said his young soldier relative was proud to serve his country.

It's been the best six years of his life, Jason Chuck told ABC news on Tuesday night.

He's a different young man now then when he joined and he's really blossomed into a great man.

His loss will be deeply felt by everyone who knows him.

Pte Chuck, from Atherton, Queensland, also leaves behind his parents, a sister, and his partner.

He joined the army in 2004 through the Special Forces Direct Recruiting Scheme and was on his third tour of Afghanistan.

Private Chuck was an outstanding commando who was highly trained and excelled at all he attempted, Defence said in a statement on Tuesday.

Private Chuck was the patrol medic within his sniper team. He was suited to this role as his affectionate and caring nature drove his passion for helping his mates.

Seven commandos injured in the crash are on their way to Germany for expert treatment at a major US medical facility there.

Defence said planning for the repatriation of the dead men's bodies had begun, although the date for return to Australia had not yet been confirmed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 » 02:59pm

Defence has signalled Australia may start bringing troops home from Afghanistan in two years.

Defence Minister John Faulkner has signalled Australia could start bringing some troops home from Afghanistan in two years.

He signalled the change while announcing that Australian defence forces will be part of a new US-led team in Afghanistan's Oruzgan province.

The multinational effort, called Combined Team Oruzgan, has been endorsed by the US and NATO, Senator Faulkner told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Australia's 1550 troops in Afghanistan have operated under the control of a 1880-strong Dutch taskgroup since 2006.

The Dutch provide key support including a hospital, combat aircraft and helicopters and artillery but are set to start withdrawing in August.

Australia has specifically rejected taking the lead role, and the new arrangements came after talks with the Dutch defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop, Senator Faulkner said.

Australian force numbers would remain unchanged.

'Our resolve in Afghanistan remains unchanged,' Senator Faulkner said.

A new combined team Oruzgan arrangement would have multinational headquarters.

'Australia will take on a new responsibility by providing a civilian head of the Oruzgan provincial reconstruction team, which will be a very important part of the combined team Oruzgan,' the minister said.

Commandos killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash heading home

From: The Australian June 25, 2010 3:28PM

THREE commandos killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan are on their final journey home after a ceremony at the Australian base at Tarin Kowt.
Private Tim Aplin, 38, Private Ben Chuck, 27, and Private Scott Palmer, 27, were farewelled at yesterday's ramp ceremony before their bodies, carried in flag-draped coffins, were flown home for burial.

Families will be present when the aircraft carrying their bodies lands at Richmond RAAF base near Sydney tomorrow.

The ceremony in Oruzgan province came as the condition of two of the seven soldiers injured in Monday's crash in northern Kandahar worsened from satisfactory to serious.

The Defence Department said of the seven soldiers being treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in Germany, three were in a very serious condition, two were in a serious condition and another two were in a satisfactory condition.

Due to the complexity of the wounds, it would be some time before the first of the soldiers was able to travel, Defence said.

Australian commander Major-General John Cantwell said the deaths of the three had deeply affected the Special Operations Task Group and all Australian personnel serving in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

“Tim, Ben and Scott were consummate professionals - highly experienced and extremely well regarded by their team and task group mates,” General Cantwell said.

“Their deaths have hit us all hard but we must remember that they died doing exactly what they wanted to be doing.”

General Cantwell said the three soldiers had been given a “true warrior's farewell in the finest traditions”.

“Our focus is now on ensuring that their families are assisted in every way possible to come to terms with what must be unbelievable grief.”

Soldiers honoured at Sydney ceremony

Saturday, June 26, 2010 » 08:15pm

The bodies of three Australian soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan have arrived in Sydney.

The Australian soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan have been honoured in a military ceremony in Sydney after their bodies arrived back home.

A Hercules plane carrying the bodies of privates Ben Chuck, Tim Aplin and Scott Palmer touched down at Sydney's RAAF airbase at Richmond, from Dubai, on Saturday afternoon.

They were killed in a Black Hawk crash last Monday.

Their families, defence personnel and Defence Minister John Faulkner were at the airbase for the private ceremony.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard did not attend, her office said.

A minute's silence was held at the racecourse next to the airbase as the plane carrying the fallen commandos came in to land, the Seven Network reported.

On Thursday, a sombre ramp memorial service was held at the Tarin Kowt base in Oruzgan Province.

The flag-draped coffins of the three soldiers were loaded onto a RAAF C130J plane at Tarin Kowt for a flight to the Al Minhad Base in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday night.

The Queensland family of 27-year-old Private Chuck flew to Sydney on Friday.

Private Chuck's body will be flown home to Yungaburra, near Cairns, on Tuesday for a funeral service on Thursday.

Seven other soldiers from the Special Operations Task Group were also injured in the crash, with five in a serious condition.

They are being treated for multiple fractures, lacerations and crush injuries at a US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

One of the men also has a head injury.

The condition of two of the men has deteriorated from satisfactory to serious, a defence statement said.

Three others remain in a very serious condition.

Due to the complexity of the injuries, it will be some time before the first of the soldiers will be able to travel.

Sixteen Australians have lost their lives since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.
Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.
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