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    Thumbs up He Displayed "COURAGE WRIT LARGE"

    Australian awarded Victoria Cross

    By Rob Taylor, ReutersJanuary 15, 2009

    Australia An Australian commando who braved open ground to draw enemy fire during a Taliban ambush and rescue other coalition soldiers in Afghanistan was on Friday awarded the country's top military honour, the Victoria Cross.

    Mark Donaldson, 29, of Australia's elite Special Air Service, was awarded the country's first Victoria Cross in 40 years for dashing 80 metres under heavy fire to rescue a wounded Afghan interpreter, and draw the attack from other wounded soldiers.

    "I don't see myself as a hero. Everyone of us that was there and that serves there are heroes," Donaldson told reporters after receiving the rare bravery award from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Australia's head of state Quentin Bryce and military commanders.

    The Victoria Cross is awarded for conspicuous valour and only 96 have been won by Australians since its creation by Britain's Queen Victoria in 1856. Many soldiers receive the medal posthumously.

    Donaldson is the first Australian to receive one since Vietnam in 1969 and the first ever to receive a special Victoria Cross for the Australia category set up in 1991.

    Donaldson was travelling in a coalition convoy with U.S. and Afghan soldiers on September 2 last year when it was ambushed by a well-armed Taliban force.

    "He joins a band of brothers so admired for their valour that there are only 10 surviving members in the world today," said the chief of Australia's military, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who saluted Donaldson for his courage.

    Rudd said Donaldson displayed "courage writ large" and had joined "the ranks of our bravest and finest".

    Australia, a close Washington ally, was an original member of the U.S.-led coalition which arrived in the country in 2001 to oust the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.

    The country has around 1,000 reconstruction troops and commando in Oruzgan province, where they are deployed alongside Dutch forces.

    Copyright (c) Reuters

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    People who do heroic things usually do not see their actions as such.
    They just see a job and do it,probably hoping that they get through it uninjured.

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