Skip to comments.VC recipient Mark Donaldson ready to back his mates
Posted on 09/30/2012 4:58:09 PM PDT by naturalman1975
ABOUT two weeks. That's how long it takes.
You might see Mark Donaldson on the streets of Perth or in a TV grab or in a photograph but if it's within 14 days of him returning from Afghanistan then he's still not 100 per cent there in front of you.
In January 2009, a ripple of pride crackled around the country when news broke that a Victoria Cross was to be awarded to an Australian for the first time in 40 years.
That's when Mark Donaldson, a 29-year-old trooper from the Special Air Services Regiment (SASR) stepped out of anonymity and into folklore after showing incredible bravery during a frenzied battle in Uruzgan Province the previous year.
The identification of SAS members is a closely guarded secret but a VC over-rides that protocol.
Donaldson and 12 other Aussies were on patrol with Afghan and US forces on September 2, 2008, when their vehicle convoy was ambushed by a large insurgency group.
Realising a number of allied soldiers had been wounded Donaldson deliberately drew enemy fire towards himself to give those injured time to move to relative safety.
Soon after he ran 80 metres to rescue a wounded interpreter despite being under heavy machine gun attack the whole time.
"You talk about the Bali bombings and things like 9/11 and the London train attacks - those sorts of things, for me, is what I would not want to see here in Australia," he says matter-of-factly.
"There are a various amount of reasons why I do what I do, but just to give you a few it would be for my family, my friends and for the country."
(Excerpt) Read more at heraldsun.com.au ...
Trooper Mark Gregor DONALDSON, WA
For most conspicuous acts of gallantry in action in a circumstance of great peril in Afghanistan, as part of the Special Operations Task Group during Operation SLIPPER, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
Trooper Mark Gregor Donaldson enlisted into the Australian Army on 18 June 2002. After completing Recruit and Initial and Employment Training he was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. Having successfully completed the Special Air Service Selection Course in April 2004, Trooper Donaldson was posted to Special Air Service Regiment in May 2004.
On 2 September 2008, during the conduct of a fighting patrol, Trooper Donaldson was travelling in a combined Afghan, US and Australian vehicle convoy that was engaged by a numerically superior, entrenched and coordinated enemy ambush. The ambush was initiated by a high volume of sustained machine gun fire coupled with the effective use of rocket propelled grenades. Such was the effect of the initiation that the combined patrol suffered numerous casualties, completely lost the initiative and became immediately suppressed. It was over two hours before the convoy was able to establish a clean break and move to an area free of enemy fire.
In the early stages of the ambush, Trooper Donaldson reacted spontaneously to regain the initiative. He moved rapidly between alternate positions of cover engaging the enemy with 66mm and 84mm anti-armour weapons as well as his M4 rifle. During an early stage of the enemy ambush, he deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to draw attention to himself and thus away from wounded soldiers. This selfless act alone bought enough time for those wounded to be moved to relative safety.
As the enemy had employed the tactic of a rolling ambush, the patrol was forced to conduct numerous vehicle manoeuvres, under intense enemy fire, over a distance of approximately four kilometres to extract the convoy from the engagement area. Compounding the extraction was the fact that casualties had consumed all available space within the vehicles. Those who had not been wounded, including Trooper Donaldson, were left with no option but to run beside the vehicles throughout. During the conduct of this vehicle manoeuvre to extract the convoy from the engagement area, a severely wounded coalition force interpreter was inadvertently left behind. Of his own volition and displaying complete disregard for his own safety, Trooper Donaldson moved alone, on foot, across approximately 80 metres of exposed ground to recover the wounded interpreter. His movement, once identified by the enemy, drew intense and accurate machine gun fire from entrenched positions. Upon reaching the wounded coalition force interpreter, Trooper Donaldson picked him up and carried him back to the relative safety of the vehicles then provided immediate first aid before returning to the fight.
On subsequent occasions during the battle, Trooper Donaldson administered medical care to other wounded soldiers, whilst continually engaging the enemy. Trooper Donaldsons 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 force. Trooper Donaldsons actions on this day displayed exceptional courage in circumstances of great peril.
His actions are of the highest accord and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Special Operations Command, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.
Boy, he sure looks the part.
Face it......the Aussie’s are awesome.....and the Aussie SAS several notches above “awesome”. Hats off, glasses raised to a fine man.
This story requires a bit of translation. Evidently Mark Donaldson is Australian for Bad Ass.
He is one of those people you sometimes see who just by looking at him you can tell he is a tough customer.
For the past century, Australia has been at our side in every major war we’ve fought.
A Sincere Man who Carries the Regiment Tradition Well.
A foaming pint lifted in the utmost respect to the heroes from Down Under.