Thanks, Sergeant

Thank you Sergeant Locke, rest in peace.

Australian soldier, Matthew Locke, killed in Afghanistan

SAS soldier Matthew Locke was a genuine hero who won high bravery honours before his death in Afghanistan, it has been revealed.

The Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) sergeant, fatally wounded in a firefight yesterday with Taliban militia in the province of Oruzgan in Afghanistan, was recognised only last year for his courage under fire.

Sgt Locke was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for his fearless conduct in battle during his first deployment to Afghanistan.

The Medal for Gallantry ranks behind only the Victoria Cross and the Star of Gallantry in military honours.

The Perth-based father and husband was hailed for displaying “courage of the highest order” during an operation on June 2 last year, in a rugged area known as the Chora Pass.

While second in command of an SAS patrol charged with setting up an observation post over a Taliban sanctuary, Sgt Locke was recognised for numerous acts of bravery as his team faced attack from the enemy.

After trudging 10 hours up the side of a mountain, the patrol was called into action to support coalition forces engaged with Taliban fighters set up in a nearby valley, his citation says.

When the battle was over, Sgt Locke’s patrol remained in place, calling in air strikes over the next day in an attempt to disrupt the enemy.

But the enemy fighters managed to turn on the small and isolated Australian unit.

As the Taliban attempted to overrun and surround the patrol, Sgt Locke, without regard for his safety, led a two-man team which found and killed them, regaining the upper hand and protecting the patrol from being overrun.

During another episode, Sgt Locke was subject to intense rifle and machine gun fire as he moved to an exposed area of higher ground, where he blunted the Taliban attack until air support arrived.

His actions ultimately ensured the patrol was able regain the initiative from Taliban forces and eventually leave the area safely on foot……

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