Home' Army News : June 23rd 2011 Contents NEWS 3
Army June 23, 2011
ALSO IN THIS EDITION:
Sapper loved his work
By LCpl Mark Doran
MOURNERS lined the street and
St Anthony's Catholic Church in
Kingscliff, NSW, was overflowing
at the funeral service for Spr Rowan
Robinson, IRR, on June 17.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard,
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott,
Defence Minister Stephen Smith,
CDF ACM Angus Houston,
CA Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie and
more than 600 people paid their
respects to Australia's latest fallen
Spr Robinson's father Peter spoke
of a proud family and a son who had
performed far beyond the expecta-
tions of a combat engineer.
"He gave his life so others could
survive," Mr Robinson said.
"Every now and then someone
special comes along -- someone with
the X factor.
"Rowan was such a man. With
a devil-may-care attitude, he was
a highly intelligent, self-motivated
man with a steely resolve for himself
and someone I could talk to when
things got tough.
"He was not destined to die of old
age. He had his fair share of luck --
he escaped the jaws of a shark while
surfing at South Kingscliff Beach
and walked away from a vehicle
accident when he rolled his brother's
"He was run over by an ASLAV
while training at High Range and on
his last deployment to Afghanistan,
the man beside him trod on an IED
which failed to detonate."
The 23-year-old combat engineer
serving with SOTG was killed in
action on June 6 during a period of
sustained fighting with insurgents.
Spr Robinson was involved in a
partnered Afghan National Police
and SOTG mission to interdict insur-
gent supplies and routes in northern
The incident occurred after the
partnered patrol uncovered one of
the largest insurgent caches found by
Australian Special Forces this year.
The patrol had moved from the
area where the cache was found to
another location of interest when it
came under fire and Spr Robinson
Pte R, 2 Cdo Regt, said Spr
Robinson was right in the thick of
it on June 6, he single-handedly
cleared the fighting position so his
team would have cover when the
"He aggressively defended and
attacked with great Australian deter-
mination, despite the massive weight
of effective enemy fire directed at
"The enemy's attack was fierce
and precise. The incoming effective
fire was relentless -- yet there on a
hill in fighting positions from wars
past in Helmand, Afghanistan, he
stood his ground."
Spr Robinson was farewelled
from Afghanistan on June 9 in a
moving memorial service and ramp
ceremony at the Multinational Base
Tarin Kot, before flying home in a
In his eulogy, CO SOTG
described Spr Robinson as a young,
dedicated soldier who was born for
the profession of arms.
"Rowan was highly motivated
and had every desire to continue to
serve his country for many years,"
CO SOTG said.
"Whether it was clearing a path
potentially littered with IEDs, fight-
ing for his mates or providing over-
watch, no task was too great and
no request for help was ever unan-
"Everything he turned his hand
to produced outstanding results.
Without fail he jumped at the chal-
lenge of leading our operators to
their objective, risking his life so that
others may live."
Spr Robinson was remembered
within the SOTG compound, sur-
rounded by his colleagues from IRR,
2 Cdo Regt, SASR and representa-
tives from ISAF and Afghan National
Security Force units.
The Commander of Australian
forces in the Middle East, Maj-Gen
Angus Campbell, said the work of
Spr Robinson and his fellow combat
engineers was fraught with danger.
"Under heavy fire, with his mates
in danger, Spr Robinson moved at
great risk to himself to provide cov-
ering fire," Maj-General Campbell
"Spr Robinson accepted his role
to protect his mates and clear the
way forward. He did so with guts
and determination. He did so always
leading from the front."
Spr Robinson arrived in Australia
at RAAF Base Amberley on June 13
and was met by IRR soldiers who
formed an honour guard and bearer
party to escort his casket to his fam-
ily.CDF ACM Angus Houston,
CA Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie, Special
Operations Commander Maj-Gen
Gus Gilmore and CO IRR attended
the ramp ceremony.
Lt-Gen Gillespie spoke of Spr
Robinson's combat engineer role
"As a sapper, he led from the
front, looking for threats and disa-
bling those devices to keep his mates
safe," Lt-Gen Gillespie said.
"Our thoughts remain with his
family at this very difficult time."
Maj-Gen Gilmore described the
highly specialised work of the regi-
ment and the loss felt by the entire
"The work of the IRR is at the top
end of their game. It is hugely impor-
tant and dangerous work that contrib-
utes enormously to the protection of
our troops in Afghanistan," Maj-Gen
"Spr Robinson loved this work
and was held in high esteem by all
who worked with him in Special
"He was highly regarded for the
way he approached each mission
with courage and conviction. His
death is felt by the entire command."
Spr Rowan Jaie Robinson -- a great team member
BORN in Wahroonga, NSW, in
1987, Spr Rowan Jaie Robinson
joined the Army in 2006. After his
initial recruit training he was posted
to 3CER in Townsville.
After four years of service he
was posted to IRR at the start of
2010, where he completed his
His colleagues described him
as a superb young man who was
fit, happy-go-lucky and a great
Spr Robinson was awarded the
AASM with International Coalition
Against Terrorism (ICAT) clasp,
Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the
ADM and the NATO ISAF Medal.
He has also been awarded
the Army Combat Badge and the
Returned from Active Service
During Spr Robinson's ser-
vice in the Australian Army he
deployed on Operation Slipper in
Afghanistan from September 2007-
April 2008 and March 2011-June
Spr Robinson leaves behind
his loving parents Marie and Peter,
sister Rachael and brothers Ben
Saying goodbye: IRR engineers form a catafalque party at Spr Rowan Robinson's funeral in Kingscliff, NSW.
Inset, Cpl Ben Robinson, 1RAR, follows the casket carrying his brother's medals.
Photos by Cpl Janine Fabre
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