Private Nathanael Galagher

It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Private Nathanael John Aubrey Galagher during operations in Afghanistan.

Private Galagher was serving with the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan when he was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on 30 August 2012.

Private Galagher is survived by his partner Jessie, parents Wayne and Sally and sister Elanor.

Twenty-three year old Private Galagher was born in Wee Waa, New South Wales in 1989. He joined the Army on 22 October 2007 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR). On completion of his Selection and Training Course and Reinforcement Cycle, Private Galagher was posted to the 2nd Commando Regiment in November 2011. Private Galagher was on his second tour to Afghanistan.

Private Galagher always put in 110% in everything he did. He had a ‘can-do’ attitude, always wanting to get the job done and taking everything in his stride. He was an enthusiastic, young soldier who was very well respected by his mates from the Regiment.

Private Galagher has been awarded the following honours and awards:

  • Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp ICAT
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
  • Australian Defence Medal
  • NATO non article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF and the Multiple Tour Indicator (2)
  • Infantry Combat Badge
  • Returned from Active Service Badge

During Private Galagher’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on the following operations:

  • Operation Slipper (Afghanistan): July – August 2012
  • Operation Slipper (Afghanistan): September 2009 – February 2010.

Statements and tributes

Private Galagher's family

Defence released the following statement on behalf of Private Nathanael ‘Nate’ Galagher's parents Sally and Wayne, sister Elanor and his partner Jessie Feeney.

Our dear Nathanael, who was also known as Nate, loved the Army, but it was only one part of what made the man.

Nate was a country boy at heart. The earth surrounding Narrabri was where he was truly at home. He’d grown up in that region, and even though the Army took him from Townsville to metropolitan Sydney, Narrabri was where he truly belonged.

Nate wasn’t a ‘showy’ kind of guy, but rather one who would demonstrate his love through the little things which meant the world. He was so loving and grateful.

We never heard Nate say a bad thing about anyone. His love for his family was apparent to all.

Easygoing is the perfect word to describe Nate. Nothing was a problem to him. Perhaps it was because he understood what the important things in life were so little dramas were like water off a duck’s back.

Becoming a father was so important to Nate. You’ve never seen a man so happy to hear the news that he had a baby on the way. We all knew about it well before the traditional three-month wait. Nate’s next great thrill arrived at an ultrasound, where the baby was revealed to be a boy who could carry on his name.

It speaks volumes about Nate that he’d reached his ultimate career goal of joining the 2nd Commando Regiment at such a young age.

Marching out of his training in December last year was one of the proudest moments of his life. We all attended the parade together. Nate was so thrilled to place the green beret on his head for the first time. In fact, he was so caught up in that moment of placing the beret perfectly on his head, we were worried for a couple of seconds that he might forget to salute. But vigilant to the honour of the occasion, Nate demonstrated his respect in the appropriate way.

We will miss Nate’s caring, loving ways and he will always be a hero to all of our family, including his unborn son.

Additional words from Nate’s partner, Jessie Feeney.

Nate idolised Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald, who was also killed in the crash. Merv was generous with his experience and shared it with the other boys in the team, especially Nate. I last saw Nate at the airport when he departed Australia in July. As they were about to walk off to the gate together, Merv turned to me and said, “don’t worry Jess, I’ll bring him home.” While it’s under the most tragic of circumstances, Merv is honouring his promise.

My pledge to Nate is that his son will understand the wonderful man who his dad was.

There’s no trait of Nate’s that I wouldn’t want his son to inherit.