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June 9, 2011
FAREWELL TO A MATE: Tw o
Special Operations Group soldiers
farewell SGT Brett Wood as he
departs Tarin Kot airfield.
Photo: AB Jo Dilorenzo
THE deaths of three soldiers in Afghani-
stan in the space of a week have sent shock
waves through the Defence community.
SGT Brett Wood died on May
23 from an improvised explosive
device blast during a partnered Special
Operations Task Group (SOTG) and
Afghan National Security Forces mission.
Then in a double blow on May 30,
two soldiers were killed.
LCPL Andrew Jones, of 9 Force
Support Battalion, was walking within
the base perimeter of Patrol Base Mashal
when he was shot by an Afghan National
Army soldier in a guard tower. The sol-
dier fled and had not been found as Air
Force News went to print. An investiga-
tion into the incident is ongoing.
Despite receiving substantial medical
treatment at the base and being airlifted
to a nearby ISAF medical facility at Tarin
Kot, LCPL Jones died from his wounds.
He was serving as a cook with Force
Later that day, LT Marcus Case, of
6 Aviation Regiment, was killed when
an Australian Chinook crashed while
undertaking a re-supply mission in
Zabul province, 90km east of Tarin Kot.
LT Case was deployed to Afghanistan
with the Air Force-operated Heron
Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) detach-
ment as an operator.
CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin said as
a part of the Defence community, he was
"deeply saddened by the news of every
service death in Afghanistan".
"The announcement that one of our
Army colleagues, LT Marcus Case on
rotation with the Heron RPA detachment
was killed in a helicopter accident, is a
fatality that is closer than normal to our
hearts in Air Force," he said.
"Our men and women in Afghanistan
and throughout the MEAO are continu-
ing to do an excellent job, but we should
never forget the dangers they are exposed
to, and sacrifices they are making away
from their homes, families and friends.
We should be justifiably proud of the
role our personnel are playing around the
world in the security of our nation."
A HIGHLY respected commando
who was killed in action in Af-
ghanistan returned to Australia on
And once again, to Air Force
fell the sad task of returning the
soldier to Australia.
SGT Brett Wood was killed by
an improvised explosive device on
Two other Australian soldiers
were wounded in the same blast.
On May 28, he was first fare-
welled by his fellow soldiers from
the 2nd Commando Regiment, the
Special Air Service Regiment and
representatives from ISAF and
Afghan Task Forces at a special
memorial service within the Special
Operations Task Group compound in
While this was going on, a
37SQN C-130H stood ready to fly
After the memorial service,
SGT Wood's casket was placed
on to a vehicle by members of his
platoon and led through an hon-
our guard of soldiers from the task
group to the aircraft.
After a traditional ramp cere-
mony, the Hercules flew him to the
Australian national headquarters in
the United Arab Emirates.
After the casket arrived at Al
Minhad Air Base, it was trans-
ferred to a 36SQN C-17A for the
long flight back to Australia.
The aircraft arrived at RAAF
Base Richmond on May 30. SGT
Wood's casket was removed during
another ramp ceremony at which
soldiers from his unit formed an
CDF ACM Angus Houston, CA
LTGEN Ken Gillespie and Special
Operations Commander Australia,
MAJGEN Gus Gilmore joined his
family at the ceremony.
The Commander Joint Task
Force 633, MAJGEN Angus
Campbell, said their thoughts were
with the family of SGT Wood dur-
ing this difficult time.
"SGT Wood served his nation
with distinction, commitment and
honour," MAJGEN Campbell said.
"We will now take time to
appropriately remember his service
and the contribution he made in
protecting the Afghan people while
conducting operations in dangerous
MAJGEN Gilmore said SGT
Wood would be remembered by
the entire Special Operations com-
"SGT Wood epitomised the val-
ues of courage, dedication to duty,
loyalty and mateship.
"He was admired and respected
by all who served with him," he
said.SGT Wood's funeral was held
at St Andrews Cathedral in Sydney
on June 3.
At the time of going to print,
repatriation arrangements for LCPL
Jones and LT Case were under way
in Afghanistan. Coverage in the next
edition of Air Force News.
LT Marcus Case
LCPL Andrew Jones
Making the sad trip home
CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin has reminded all mem-
bers of the services available to them through the
ADF community in the wake of the recent deaths in
AIRMSHL Binskin said he was deeply saddened
by the news of every service death in Afghanistan.
"Our men and women in Afghanistan and
throughout the MEAO are continuing to do an excel-
lent job, but we should never forget the dangers
they are exposed to," he said.
"For personnel and their families, I would like to
remind you of the support that is available when we
go through these difficult times."
While such support is mainly a command
responsibility, the chaplains, and/or the All-hours
Support Line (ASL) on 1800 628 036 are available to
assist any members should they have any concerns.
"The ASL is available for both personnel and
their families, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
to help you access ADF or civilian mental health
services more easily," CAF said.
DMHSF/comweb.asp?page=39410 for information.
CAF says support is at hand
Left, SGT Brett Wood
HOME AGAIN: Chief
of Army LTGEN Ken
Gillespie at the casket of
SGT Brett Wood at RAAF
Photo: SGT Bill Guthrie
HOME AGAIN: Chief
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