Australian commando wins Victoria Cross for Afghan service

An Australian commando was awarded the Victoria Cross, the country`s highest military honour, for storming Taliban machine gun positions in Afghanistan to save fellow soldiers with no concern for his own safety.

Last Updated: Jan 23, 2011, 15:54 PM IST

Melbourne: An Australian commando was
on Sunday awarded the Victoria Cross, the country`s highest
military honour, for storming Taliban machine gun positions in
Afghanistan to save fellow soldiers with no concern for his
own safety.

32-year-old Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith received
his VC from Governor-General Quentin Bryce at a special
ceremony in Perth, adding to his Medal for Gallantry awarded
for bravery under fire in Afghanistan in 2006, a news agency reported.

The actions for which Cpl Roberts-Smith earned his VC
took place on June 11 last year after helicopters landed his
troops near the village of Tizak in Afghanistan`s Kandahar
province to capture or kill a senior Taliban commander, it
said.

The VC citation stated the unit was immediately pinned
down by machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire from
elevated Taliban positions, and two soldiers were wounded.

"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," the citation read.

The full military ceremony at Campbell Barracks for
the Perth-born soldier was attended by Prime Minister Julia
Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Chief of Defence
Force Angus Houston.

Cpl Roberts-Smith is the father of two five-month-old
twin girls and son of Western Australia`s Corruption and Crime
Commission head, Len Roberts-Smith.

He is only the second Australian to be awarded the
Victoria Cross for Australia, after it was established in
1991.

PTI