Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, VC, MG
Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, VC, MG, joined the Australian Army on 11 November 1996 and, after completing initial training, was posted to 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR). Over the next six years, he deployed to Malaysia twice as part of Rifle Company Butterworth, and completed two operational tours of Timor-Leste (East Timor), including INTERFET – the Australian-led security force tasked with restoring peace and security to Timor-Leste in 1999.
In 2003, Corporal Roberts-Smith successfully completed the Special Air Service Regiment selection course and, over the next 10 years, deployed on operations with SASR on several occasions.
In 2006, Corporal Roberts-Smith was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for his actions as a patrol sniper with the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan.
On 11 June 2010, Corporal Roberts-Smith again deployed to Afghanistan, subsequently being awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia for his actions during a helicopter assault into Tizak, Kandahar province, in order to capture or kill a senior Taliban commander. Corporal Roberts-Smith’s citation reads:
“For the most conspicuous gallantry in action in circumstances of extreme peril as a Patrol Second-in-Command with the Special Operations Task Group on Operation SLIPPER.”
On 23 January 2011, Corporal Roberts-Smith was invested with the Victoria Cross for Australia by the Governor-General in Perth, becoming the second Australian and the second operator at the Special Air Service Regiment to receive the award.
On Australia Day 2014, Corporal Roberts-Smith was awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service as a patrol commander with the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan from June to November 2012.
Corporal Roberts-Smith, VC, MG, has deployed to Timor-Leste (East Timor), Afghanistan and Iraq, and he continues to serve in the Australian Army today as a reservist.
Corporal Roberts-Smith has received the following honours and awards:
- Victoria Cross for Australia
- Medal for Gallantry
- Commendation for Distinguished Service
- Australian Active Service Medal with ‘East Timor’, ‘Iraq 2003’ and ‘International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT)’ clasps
- International Force East Timor (INTERFET) Medal
- Afghanistan Medal
- Iraq Medal
- Australian Service Medal with ‘Counter Terrorism/Special Recovery (CT/SR)’ clasp
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- Defence Long Service Medal
- Australian Defence Medal
- United Nations Assistance Mission in East Timor Medal
- NATO Non-Article 5 Medal with ‘International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)’ clasp with multi-tour indicator ‘2’
- Unit Citation for Gallantry – Task Force 637 (Special Operations Task Group), Afghanistan
- Meritorious Unit Citation – Task Force 66 (Special Operations Task Group), Afghanistan
- Infantry Combat Badge
- Returned from Active Service Badge