By lex, on May 25th, 2011
An Australian soldier who had led his platoon to the rescue of an embattled American company in Afghanistan – while wounded – has stepped into the clearing:
It was land Sergeant Wood had spent many hard months fighting over. He was a team leader in July 2006 when an Australian platoon and the US company were sent to clear insurgents from a sanctuary in the Chora Valley.
The US troops came under rocket and small arms fire from several directions that killed one soldier and wounded six others.
The Australian commandos themselves under heavy fire, swept through thick vegetation to get to the Americans. A volley of four rockets landed on them, wounding six men including Corporal Wood, who was hit in a foot.
The Australian commander, who did not know Corporal Wood was wounded, ordered his unit to charge forward. “Under these daunting conditions Corporal Wood commenced this task without hesitation, completing a rapid and aggressive clearance of numerous threat compounds,” the citation for his MG says.
The insurgents repeatedly counter attacked and he inspired his men to beat them off. He then led a sniper team into insurgent territory to kill seven enemy. Only after the fighting was over did he tell his superior he was wounded.
Julia Gillard said every loss in Afghanistan hurt Australia as a nation. “It is difficult, but . . . there can be no doubt, we are making progress,” the Prime Minister told parliament. “We make that progress because of the sacrifice and dedication, because of people like Sergeant Wood.”