Mark Donaldson

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Mark Gregor Strang Donaldson
Allegiance Australia Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 2002 – Present
Rank Trooper
Unit 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Australian Special Air Service Regiment
Battles/wars

East Timor Iraq War

War in Afghanistan

Awards Victoria Cross for Australia

Mark Donaldson is an Australian soldier who was given the first Victoria Cross for Australia. The is the highest medal for bravery for people in the Australian Defence Forces, replacing the Victoria Cross. He is the 97th Australian to be given the highest bravery award, and the first for 40 years.

Donaldson was given the award by the Governor General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, on January 16, 2009. The ceremony was at Government House in Canberra. Donaldson had risked his life to save nine wounded Australian soldiers and an Afghan interpreter. They had been in a group of vehicles travelling in the Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan in September, 2008. They had been hurt when the Taliban attacked them.[1]

Early life[change | edit source]

Mark Donaldson was born on 2 April, 1979 at Waratah, New South Wales. He grew up in the small town of Dorrigo, New South Wales. He went to Dorrigo High School.[2] After finishing high school, Donaldson went to an art college in Sydney. He then worked at a number of different jobs in Australia and overseas.[3]

In 1999 his mother, Bernadette, was listed as a missing person. The police believe she has been murdered.[4]

Military career[change | edit source]

Donaldson joined the Australian Army on 18 June 2002. He trained at Army Recruit Training Centre, Kapooka, NSW. He won prizes as the best shot and best at physical training in his platoon. Sent to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps he then did more training at Singleton, NSW, where he again won prizes for shooting and physical training, and also as the best soldier in his platoon. He was then posted to 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, based at Townsville, Queensland.[5]

From February to April 2004 Donaldson did the Special Air Service training course, and was posted to I Troop, 3 Special Air Service Squadron in May 2004. He has served in East Timor, Iraq (Operation Falconer) and Afghanistan (Operation Slipper). During his time in Afghanistan he was slightly wounded on 12 August 2008.[5]

The medal[change | edit source]

A week after being given the medal, Donaldson loaned his VC and other medals to the Australian War Memorial where they will be placed on public show.[6]

References[change | edit source]