Mark Donaldson

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Mark Gregor Strang Donaldson
Trooper Mark Donaldson
AllegianceAustralia Australia
Service/branchAustralian Army
Years of service2002 – Present
Unit1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Australian Special Air Service Regiment
Battles/warsEast Timor

Iraq War

War in Afghanistan

AwardsVictoria 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 | change 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 | change 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 | change 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 | change source]

  1. Woodley, Naomi (January 16, 2009). "SAS Trooper awarded first Australia Victoria Cross in 40 years". PM Radio National. ABC. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
  2. "VC for former Dorrigo pupil". The Coffs Coast Advocate. APN News & Media Ltd. 17 January 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  3. "The private pain of a national hero - National -". Retrieved 2009-02-21.
  4. Lawrence, Kara (January 19, 2009). "Victoria Cross recipient SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson at heart of murder mystery". The Australian Online. News Limited. Archived from the original on January 25, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Trooper Mark Gregor Strang Donaldson, VC". Department of Defence. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2009. Includes official citation for the medal.
  6. Nick Fletcher. "Trooper Mark Donaldson loans his Victoria Cross to the Australian War Memorial". Blog Archive. Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2009.