Hawt VC awarded to Aussie SASR soldier


¡ɟɟo ʞɔnɟ ʇunɔ 'ᴉO
Nov 11, 2008
Victoria Cross awarded to soldier who 'tore a Taliban fighter off his back like an insect'


THE brown dust from the departing choppers that carried the SAS squadron south from their base at Tarin Kowt had barely cleared when all hell broke loose.

It was October 2010, at the height of the Afghanistan fighting season, and a large Taliban force had established numerous firing positions around heavy machineguns.
More than 24 elite Perth-based Diggers from the Special Air Service Regiment were under withering fire.

Realising his mates were in grave danger, and with no regard for his own welfare, the SAS Corporal charged headlong into the Taliban machinegun fire.
The sight of the 202cm Australian warrior coming at them must have shocked the bearded Afghans.

Within minutes three enemy guns had been silenced and numerous Taliban fighters lay dead.

West Australian Ben, or "RS" to his mates, had taken out three machinegun positions single handedly.

His comrades said it was the most extreme example of conspicuous gallantry since Albert Jacka VC jumped into a trench full of Turks at Gallipoli in 1915, killing seven with his rifle and bayonet.

"He just tore into the enemy," one of his mates said.

"He is the epitome of the Spartan soldier. It was only a matter of time before he would demonstrate his true ability."

Now the soldier - already awarded a Medal of Gallantry - will become the latest to be awarded the nation's highest military honour, the Victoria Cross For Australia.
"This guy is a warrior," one of his ex-colleagues said ahead of Sunday's investiture ceremony.

The battle that led to the honour came during an offensive in the Shah Wali Kot area.
Signals intelligence had intercepted enemy "chatter" about a large group of Taliban fighters moving to attack a combined force of commandos from the Sydney based 2nd Commando Regiment and the Afghan National Army.

The SAS had been mounting helicopter-borne assaults throughout the offensive, targeting Taliban commanders and bomb makers.

As soon as word came through, the troops from the squadron based at Camp Russell near Tarin Kowt immediately mounted several US Blackhawk choppers for the 15-minute flight into battle.

After landing the SAS took the fight to the enemy, but it was clear they would falter unless the machineguns were neutralised. Step forward "RS", the biggest man in the regiment by a fair margin.

"RS" joined the SASR in 2002 from the army's 3rd Battalion. He is a specialist sniper and "assaulter" and a devoted husband and father of two young daughters.

He was awarded a Medal for Gallantry in December 2006 for his courage under fire in Afghanistan's Chora Valley in the same battle in which Sergeant Matthew Locke, who was killed in action during 2007, won his MG. During that fight, according to comrades, "RS" tore a Taliban fighter off his back like an insect, stood on his throat and shot him dead.

By the time the battle was over about 60 Taliban lay dead from small arms fire, hand-to-hand combat and close air support.

Ben's Victoria Cross will make him the most decorated Australian soldier in decades.
His good mate Rob Maylor, whose book SAS Sniper was released last year, describes him as an outstanding soldier: "He has excelled as an operator in the Regiment, and is also an SAS sniper, but his main calling is as an assaulter and he is exceptional."
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