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Forces join to farewell a man amongst men

May 29th, 2011 Australia

Brett Wood

Australian and Afghan soldiers form an honour guard to accompany Sergeant Brett Wood’s coffin to Tarin Kowt airfield. Picture: ADF
Source: Supplied

AFGHANISTAN-based special forces have farewelled the body of their mate Sergeant Brett Wood, Australia’s 24th combat fatality in a war seemingly without end.

Sergeant Wood, a highly decorated member of the Commando Regiment was killed in action last week, the victim of a roadside bomb.

The 32-year-old special forces soldier from the Sydney-based 2 Commando Regiment was patrolling on foot during counter-insurgency operations in southern Kandahar province when the bomb detonated, killing Sergeant Wood and seriously wounding two other Diggers.

His flag-draped casket was placed aboard a Royal Australian Air Force Hercules at the weekend and was expected to return to Australian today.

Two Australian soldiers wounded in a separate incident last Wednesday are expected to make a full recovery and return to duty, Defence said yesterday.

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Sergeant Wood is remembered as an exceptional soldier who dedicated his career to serving his nation, mates and family.

He was killed in action on May 23 during a partnered Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and Afghan National Security Forces mission.

“We should all be immensely grateful for having had the privilege of serving with Brett,” said the SOTG commander, whose name was suppressed because of operational security.

“Brett was a man amongst men, a soldier’s soldier, an outstanding leader, a great mate, a loving husband, courageous and professional to a fault.”

After the memorial service, Sergeant Wood’s casket was placed on to a Long Range Patrol Vehicle by members of his platoon and led through an honour guard from the task group.

It was then escorted on to the waiting RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft to begin the long journey home to family and friends in Australia.

The Commander of Joint Task Force 633 (SOTG), Major General Angus Campbell, said the loss of Sergeant Wood had not affected the resolve of the Australian Defence Force or that of their Afghan partners.

“Foremost, our thoughts are with the family of Sergeant Wood during this difficult time. Sergeant Wood served his nation with distinction, commitment and honour,” Major General Campbell said.

“We will now take time to appropriately remember his service and the contribution he made in protecting the Afghan people while conducting operations in dangerous circumstances.”

A private service will be held for Sergeant Wood in Sydney where he will be buried with full military honours.