Media Release - Afghan Angels: Let Their Courage Not Be In Vain - Thursday, 8 July 2021

Media Release - Afghan Angels: Let Their Courage Not Be In Vain - Thursday, 8 July 2021 Main Image

By Joel Fitzgibbon

08 July 2021

Victoria Cross Citation: Mark Donaldson:

"In the early stages of the ambush, Trooper Donaldson reacted spontaneously to regain the initiative. He moved rapidly between alternate positions of cover engaging the enemy with 66mm and 84mm anti-armour weapons as well as his M4 rifle. During an early stage of the enemy ambush, he deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to draw attention to himself and thus away from wounded soldiers. This selfless act alone bought enough time for those wounded to be moved to relative safety.” As the ambushed vehicles manoeuvred to withdraw, with the unwounded members of the patrol running alongside, a severely wounded Afghani interpreter was accidentally left behind.

The citation continues:

"Of his own volition and displaying complete disregard for his own safety, Trooper Donaldson moved alone, on foot, across approximately 80 metres of exposed ground to recover the wounded interpreter. His movement, once identified by the enemy, drew intense and accurate machine gun fire from entrenched positions. Upon reaching the wounded coalition force interpreter, Trooper Donaldson picked him up and carried him back to the relative safety of the vehicles then provided immediate first aid before returning to the fight." The patrol was ultimately able to disengage from the action and withdraw with its wounded, all of whom survived.

A copy of Mark Donaldson’s VC citation should be reproduced on the mousepad of every Minister who sits on the National Security Committee.

Donaldson’s valour and the value he placed on the life of his interpreter should be the guiding light for every visa decision maker. Mark Donaldson actions were far more consistent with Australian values than the process we see unfolding before us.

I’ve no doubt the issue is not a simple one and there will be those with questionable claims. I have first-hand experience.

But only two key questions need be asked and answered: did this person assist, and are they now at risk as a result of the help they provided?

If the answers to those two questions are in the affirmative, we have a moral obligation to grant them safe passage. Just ask our diggers.