Skip to comments.Victoria Cross hero Ben Roberts-Smith is leaving the army
Posted on 02/10/2013 12:39:29 PM PST by naturalman1975
SAS soldier and Victoria Cross hero Ben Roberts-Smith is leaving the army to pursue a business career as the "post-Afghanistan" exodus of elite soldiers hits alarming levels.
The most high profile departure yet of a special-forces operator comes as the military prepares to award the SAS Number 2 Squadron the Unit Citation for Gallantry for its work in the Battle of Tizak, where Corporal Roberts-Smith earned his VC for conspicuous gallantry.
The elite warrior, who received the second Victoria Cross for Australia in January 2011, is joining a long line of highly skilled soldiers resigning from the Special Air Service Regiment as the war in Afghanistan draws to a close.
A senior army officer said he understood why Roberts-Smith wanted a breather given the tempo of combat operations and the pressure on his young family.
The 34-year-old 10-year SAS veteran has undertaken several tours of duty to and has been engaged in some intense, life threatening combat missions.
"We wish him all the best, he has done so much for his country," the officer told News Limited.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.com.au ...
He has served this country and the cause of freedom in a profound way.
This photograph - which hangs in the Australian War Memorial - was taken only a few minutes after the action for which he was invested with the Victoria Cross.
I also love these pictures:
Corporal Mark Donaldson VC congratulates Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG following his investiture with the Victoria Cross for Australia.
Corporal Mark Donaldson VC and Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, with Australia's last surviving Vietnam War Victoria Cross recipient, Warrant Officer (Retired) Keith Payne VC OAM.
Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG meets his Queen.
For the most conspicuous gallantry in action in circumstances of extreme peril as Patrol Second-in-Command, Special Operations Task Group on Operation SLIPPER.
Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith enlisted in the Australian Regular Army in 1996. After completing the requisite courses, he was posted the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment where he saw active service in East Timor. In January 2003, he successfully completed the Australian Special Air Service Regiment Selection Course.
During his tenure with the Regiment, he deployed on Operation VALIANT, SLATE, SLIPPER, CATALYST and SLIPPER II. Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for his actions in Afghanistan in 2006.
On the 11th June 2010, a troop of the Special Operations Task Group conducted a helicopter assault into Tizak, Kandahar Province, in order to capture or kill a senior Taliban commander.
Immediately upon the helicopter insertion, the troop was engaged by machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire from multiple, dominating positions. Two soldiers were wounded in action and the troop was pinned down by fire from three machine guns in an elevated fortified position to the south of the village. Under the cover of close air support, suppressive small arms and machine gun fire, Corporal Roberts-Smith and his patrol manoeuvred to within 70 metres of the enemy position in order to neutralise the enemy machine gun positions and regain the initiative.
Upon commencement of the assault, the patrol drew very heavy, intense, effective and sustained fire from the enemy position. Corporal Roberts-Smith and his patrol members fought towards the enemy position until, at a range of 40 metres, the weight of fire prevented further movement forward. At this point, he identified the opportunity to exploit some cover provided by a small structure.
As he approached the structure, Corporal Roberts-Smith identified an insurgent grenadier in the throes of engaging his patrol. Corporal Roberts-Smith instinctively engaged the insurgent at point-blank range resulting in the death of the insurgent. With the members of his patrol still pinned down by the three enemy machine gun positions, he exposed his own position in order to draw fire away from his patrol, which enabled them to bring fire to bear against the enemy. His actions enabled his Patrol Commander to throw a grenade and silence one of the machine guns. Seizing the advantage, and demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry, Corporal Roberts-Smith, with a total disregard for his own safety, stormed the enemy position killing the two remaining machine gunners.
His act of valour enabled his patrol to break-in to the enemy position and to lift the weight of fire from the remainder of the troop who had been pinned down by the machine gun fire. On seizing the fortified gun position, Corporal Roberts-Smith then took the initiative again and continued to assault enemy positions in depth during which he and another patrol member engaged and killed further enemy. His acts of selfless valour directly enabled his troop to go on and clear the village of Tizak of Taliban. This decisive engagement subsequently caused the remainder of the Taliban in Shah Wali Kot District to retreat from the area.
Corporal Roberts-Smiths most conspicuous gallantry in a circumstance of extreme peril was instrumental to the seizure of the initiative and the success of the troop against a numerically superior enemy force. His valour was an inspiration to the soldiers with whom he fought alongside and is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.
On the night of 31st May 2006, Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith was employed as a patrol scout and sniper in a patrol which was tasked with establishing an Observation Post near the Chora Pass in extremely rugged terrain overlooking an Anti Coalition Militia sanctuary. Early in the patrol, after an arduous ten hour foot infiltration up the side of a mountain, the patrol was required to coordinate offensive air support to assist a combined Special Operations Task Group and other Special Forces patrol who were in contact with the Anti Coalition Militia in the valley floor to their north. Following this engagement the patrol remained in the Observation Post to continue providing vital information on the Anti Coalition Militia in the area. This comprehensive reporting had a significant effect on shaping the local area for the subsequent coalition forces operation.
On the 2nd June, the Observation Post had become the focus of the Anti Coalition Militia force and repeated attempts to locate and surround the position ensued. In one particular incident the Militia attempted to outflank the Observation Post. Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith was part of a two man team tasked to move out of their relatively secure Observation Post in order to locate and neutralise the Militia and regain the initiative. This task was successfully achieved.
In another incident, two Anti Coalition Militia attempted to attack the Observation Post from a different flank, Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith again moved to support and neutralise one of these Militia. Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith then realised that the forward edge of the Observation Post was not secure and made the decision to split the team and take up an exposed position forward of the patrol so he could effectively employ his sniper weapon. Whilst isolated, and in his precarious position, he observed a group of sixteen Anti Coalition Militia advancing across open ground towards the Observation Post. Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith effectively employed his sniper rifle to stop their advance whilst receiving very accurate small arms fire from another group of Militia to his flank.
Through his efforts, Lance Corporal Roberts-Smith maintained the initiative and ensured that his patrol remained secure by holding this position without support for twenty minutes. He was eventually reinforced by his original team member and together they continued to hold off the Militia advance for a further twenty minutes until offensive air support arrived.
Lance Corporal Roberts-Smiths actions on the 2nd June 2006, whilst under heavy Anti Coalition Militia fire and in a precarious position, threatened by a numerically superior force, are testament to his courage, tenacity and sense of duty to his patrol. His display of gallantry in disregarding his own personal safety in maintaining an exposed sniper position under sustained fire with a risk of being surrounded by the Anti Coalition Militia was outstanding. His actions, in order to safeguard his patrol, were of the highest order and in keeping with the finest traditions of Special Operations Command Australia, the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.
You might also enjoy “Tobruk” by Peter Fitzsimons which, among other things, tells the story of another VC winner, John Edmundson.
Who Dares Wins!
On leaving the SAS, a soldier reverts to his previous rank plus accrued seniority. Roberts-Smith was a Corporal with 3RAR before he went into the SAS - before he musters out, he can expect to, briefly, be 'posted' back to them, certainly as a Sergeant, maybe as a Warrant Officer Class Two (Company Sergeant Major equivalent).
One of those rare characters who looks exactly like what he is.
Having shared the original story, I feel I should share the following. Apparently the story is inaccurate:
AUSTRALIA’S most decorated soldier, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, today announced he would be taking personal leave but was not leaving the army.
The Victoria Cross recipient released a statement announcing he had not resigned from the Special Air Service Regiment and would remain a member of the Australian Army.
“Over the course of 18 years in the Army, I have accumulated a substantial amount of leave and plan to take some of that leave this year.
“I will not discuss the period of leave I intend to take or my plans during this time, as I consider these personal matters. Like any Army member, I remain a serving member whilst on leave,” Cpl Roberts-Smith said.
He said he was “disappointed” by earlier reports that he had decided to quit the SAS but declined to elaborate on the length of time he intended to be away or the reasons behind his decision to take leave.
Like any member of the ADF, there will come a time for me to move on. However, if and when that time comes, I will remain connected to the SASR, the Army and the ADF and will not quit or walk away as News Limited reporting has suggested.
While I accept the public responsibilities of holding the Victoria Cross for Australia, I strongly believe that some aspects of my personal and family life remain private and I thank those members of the Australian media and public who have respected these wishes.