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February 3, 2011
SGT Andrew Hetherington
"MY head's still spinning. It feels extremely
humbling and makes me feel extremely proud
to be a part of the unit, but more so the squad-
ron for what we achieved on the day and being
a part of something where we took the fight to
the Taliban and we won. The boys did some
This was the reaction from CPL Benjamin
Roberts-Smith after he was awarded the sec-
ond Victoria Cross for Australia in the current
conflict and became Australia's most decorated
serving soldier on January 23.
He found out a week before Christmas that
he had received the award.
"I told my family and wife Emma. We talked
about it and were blown away.
"After the initial shock wore off, Emma told me
not to do it again, but she was over the moon."
Governor-General Quentin Bryce presented
CPL Roberts-Smith with his award in front of
more than 500 guests at his unit's home at
Campbell Barracks in Perth.
One of CPL Roberts-Smith's mates who
shared a beer with him at the after-ceremony
function was fellow VC winner CPL Mark
CPL Donaldson said his mate was a natu-
rally talented soldier.
"He does everything well across the board.
He is naturally gifted at being able to shoot,"
CPL Donaldson said. "To do his job properly
as a trooper and then step up to a corporal's
position, take command and inspire leadership
came to him naturally."
He said his mate now had a lot to look
forward to after becoming one of only three
surviving Australian VC recipients.
But he is ready for that.
"Life's going to change drastically, particu-
larly with the media," CPL Roberts-Smith said.
"The reality of it is the world will turn and
I'll come back to work and there will be things
I'll have to do on the side, but my main focus,
as always, will be to come back to work and
run my patrol and get prepared to go back to
WELL DONE: CPL Benjamin
Roberts-Smith is congratulated by
Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
Photo: CPL Chris Moore
... he wants to
get back to the
job. Photo: SGT
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