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Army June 9, 2011
The Soldiers' Newspaper
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Chief of Staff
Graham McBean: (02) 6265 1161
Sgt Andrew Hetherington: (02) 6266 7614
Cpl Zenith King: (02) 6266 7608
LCpl Mark Doran: (02) 6265 1304
Cpl Melanie Schinkel: (02) 6265 2427
Bill Cunneen: 0402 155 220
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By Cpl Melanie Schinkel
FALLEN decorated warrior Sgt Brett Wood was the
first Australian commando to be awarded the pres-
tigious Medal for Gallantry for his actions as a Team
Commander while deployed on Operation Slipper in
Sgt Wood was a corporal when he was awarded for
his brave conduct as part of the Special Operations Task
Group (SOTG) Task Force 637 during Operation Perth
When asked about Sgt Wood's character and role
during the operation, CO 2 Cdo Regt Lt-Col C said Sgt
Wood was a master of the commando skill set and a
strong leader with uncompromising standards.
"Brett demonstrated a bias for action -- he had the
mental fortitude and physical toughness to persevere and
overcome," Lt-Col C said.
"He was a no-frills soldier. When given a job to
do, he just got on with it with whatever manpower and
resources he had available to him.
"Brett was meticulous with his planning, ruthless in
his execution and pragmatic when reviewing his own
Partnered in support of the US Army's light infantry
the 10th Mountain Div, on July 17, 2006, the Cdo Pl
was tasked to conduct a clearance of an anti-coalition
militia sanctuary in the Chora Valley, Uruzgan province,
It was about 1pm when the 10th Mountain Div was
engaged by enemy heavy rocket-propelled grenade and
small-arms fire on multiple flanks, which resulted in six
soldiers being wounded and one killed in action.
While under heavy fire from large numbers of dis-
persed anti-coalition militia, the Cdo Pl manoeuvred
through thick vegetation to provide assistance to the
pinned down element.
During this move, the Cdo Pl received a volley of
four rockets, which impacted in the centre of its position
and wounded six Australian soldiers, a loss to the pla-
toon by one-third of its force.
Unknown to the Cdo Pl Commander at the time, Cpl
Wood was also wounded in the foot by fragmentation
from the RPG barrage.
To regain the initiative, Cpl Wood's team was tasked
by the Commander to assault forward and clear a group
of compounds from which they were receiving enemy
fire. Despite his wound, Cpl Wood did the task without
hesitation and completed a rapid and aggressive clear-
ance of numerous threat compounds.
Throughout the afternoon, numerous and relentless
probing attacks by a determined opponent followed. Cpl
Wood inspired his team and the remainder of the Cdo
Pl to repel the continued attacks then successfully led
a marksmanship team to infiltrate anti-coalition militia
territory, which resulted in the deaths of seven militia
Lt-Col C said it was only after the engagement, when
the threat to the platoon had subsided, that Sgt Wood
informed the Commander of his wound from the original
contact earlier that day.
"Sgt Wood's act of gallantry was testament to his
courage, leadership and sense of duty to his team and the
platoon," Lt-Col C said.
"If an organisation is defined by its people and their
actions, then it's with mixed pride and sorrow I say that
Sgt Wood lived his life by a set of values that all mem-
bers of 2 Cdo Regt should strive to follow."
BORN in Ferntree Gully, Victoria in 1978, Sgt
Brett Mathew Wood, 32, aspired to serve as
an Australian Special Forces soldier. Sgt Wood
enlisted in the Army in 1996 and after recruit
training was posted to 6RAR before success-
fully completing commando selection and
marching into the then 4RAR (2 Cdo) in 1998.
Sgt Wood's first operational deployment
was to Bougainville in 2000 followed by East
Timor in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.
In 2006, Sgt Wood deployed to Afghanistan
on Operation Slipper and it was during this tour
he was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for his
leadership in action as a team commander.
He also received a Special Operations
Commander -- Australia Commendation for his
service with the Tactical Assault Group -- East
Sgt Wood returned to Afghanistan as a
section commander in 2009 and again, for the
third time, in March this year.
Throughout his distinguished career, Sgt
Wood was awarded the following accolades:
The Medal for Gallantry
The Australian Active Service Medal with
clasps: East Timor, ICAT, Iraq 2003 and
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Australian Service Medal with clasp
The Australian Defence Medal
The United Nations East Timor Medal
The NATO ISAF Medal
Special Operations Command Australia
Unit Citation for Gallantry
The Infantry Combat Badge.
He has been posthumously awarded the
US Meritorious Service Medal for his service
on operations in 2011.
Sgt Brett Mathew Wood -- a history of proud service
By Cpl Melanie Schinkel
A POIGNANT tribute to Sgt
Brett Wood by his wife Elvi
touched the hearts of more than
1000 mourners at the com-
mando's funeral at St Andrew's
Cathedral in Sydney on June 3.
Mrs Wood's eulogy to her fall-
en husband honoured his commit-
ment to the nation and his ever-
present commitment to his mates.
"As an Army wife, I always
respected the bond soldiers had
with each other -- I never quite
understood it, but I understand
now," Mrs Wood said.
She spoke of a dedicated
soldier to those gathered at St
Andrew's and those who spilled
out of the cathedral and into
"You always have each other's
back and you would do anything
for each other. This is truly the
warrior's way. I'm so glad Brett
always had you all by his side --
for this I thank you.
"Brett, you have done your
country proud and will always be
remembered. I love you with all
of my heart. Be in peace now."
Sgt Wood's mother Alison,
father David, and his brothers and
sisters supported Mrs Wood.
The family was joined by
Prime Minister Julia Gillard,
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott,
Defence Minister Stephen Smith,
CDF ACM Angus Houston and
CA Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie.
Colleague WO2 H said Sgt
Wood's memory would remain.
"Lying here before you is the
epitome of a warrior. Sgt Brett
Mathew Wood -- warrior -- never
to be forgotten," he said.
Sgt Wood, 32, was killed by
an IED during a partnered Special
Operations Task Group and
Afghan National Security Forces
mission in Helmand province on
His journey home was marked
by emotional services as col-
leagues paid homage to the Medal
of Gallantry recipient.
Overwhelmed with sorrow,
2 Cdo Regt's Sgt G struggled to
contain his tears as he delivered
a heartfelt message at Sgt Wood's
memorial service at 2 Cdo Regt's
home at Holsworthy on June 1.
According to Sgt G, in the sec-
onds after the devastating blast,
those who could ran to help Sgt
Wood and the other wounded
soldiers in the face of the enemy
"Woodro, we are devastated
about losing you -- you truly were
the best of us and it was an honour
to serve alongside such a true and
gallant warrior," Sgt G said.
Sgt Wood was farewelled from
Afghanistan for the last time at a
memorial service and ramp cer-
emony held at Multinational Base
Tarin Kot on May 29.
Sgt Wood was buried at
Sydney War Cemetery at
Rookwood. His name now joins
Pte Luke Worsley, LCpl Jason
Marks, Lt Michael Fussell and
Ptes Tim Aplin, Ben Chuck and
Scott Palmer on 2 Cdo Regt's Roll
to farewell warrior
Gallant: Commandos carry Sgt Brett Wood from St Andrew's
Cathedral in Sydney after his funeral service. Inset, SOTG
personnel farewell their brother-in-arms at a ramp ceremony in
Photos by Sgt Bill Guthrie and AB Jo Dilorenzo
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