It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Lieutenant (Lt) Michael Fussell during operations in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Fussell was serving with the Special Operations Task Group when he was killed in action by an Improvised Explosive Device detonation while conducting a dismounted patrol in Uruzgan province, on Thursday 27 November, 2008.
Twenty-five-year-old Lieutenant Fussell was from the Sydney-based 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Commando).
Lieutenant Michael Fussell was born on 17 November, 1983 at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.
Lieutenant Fussell enlisted in the Australian Army January 2002 and was appointed as an Officer Cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He completed a Bachelor of Arts and was a keen sportsman, with a strong interest in rugby.
He attended Royal Military College, Duntroon in 2005, commissioning in December 2005 into the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery. On graduation he was posted to ‘A’ Field Battery, 4th Field Regiment, where he fulfilled a number of junior officer roles.
During his time at ‘A’ Field Battery he qualified as a paratrooper. He also deployed to East Timor on Operation Astute in 2006 and 2007.
Lieutenant Fussell was posted to 4 RAR (Commando) in January 2008 as a Joint Offensive Support Team Commander. He was a Platoon Commander for the Advance Infantry Course at Singleton and completed the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) course.
Lieutenant Fussell’s military decorations include:
- the Australian Active Service Medal with clasp International Campaign Against Terrorism (ICAT)
- the Afghanistan Campaign Medal
- the Australian Service Medal clasp for Timor-Leste
- the Australian Defence Medal.
Michael leaves behind two loving parents, his younger brother Daniel and two younger foster sisters Nikki and Nyah. His brother Daniel is a Lieutenant with 1st Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (RAA) in Brisbane.
Statements and tributes
Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd
The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, expressed his condolences to the family of Lieutenant Fussell.
“I'm deeply saddened today to hear of the death of an Australian soldier this morning in Afghanistan. On behalf of the Government I wish to extend my condolences to the family of this soldier," Mr Rudd said.
“Sadly, as a result of this incident today, seven brave Australian soldiers have now been killed in Afghanistan fighting Taliban insurgents. Our troops in Afghanistan are engaged in dangerous work. They are engaged in important work, and they perform their role with distinction and with dedication, with bravery and with professionalism. They perform their work in the best traditions of ANZAC.”
“I've said before that there is no higher call for any person than to wear the uniform of Australia. And today we are tragically reminded of the risks that come, the terrible risks that come with that calling.”
“Again, I would say our prayers and thoughts are with the family, as they are with this brave man's fellow soldiers on duty in Afghanistan.”
Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General David Hurley
Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General (LtGen) David Hurley spoke of the sacrifice made by Lieutenant Fussell.
“Today our nation mourns the loss of a fine soldier. On behalf of the men and women of the Australian Defence Force, I offer my deepest sympathy to his family and to his friends," Lieutenant General Hurley said.
“My highest priority right now is to ensure that the soldier's family receives the care and support they need.”