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Army November 10, 2011
The Soldiers' Newspaper
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THE Inquiry Officer's report into Pte Nathan
Bewes' death in Afghanistan last year has recom-
mended more careful management of temporary
This was one of four recommendations in the
report, which VCDF Mark Binskin released on
Pte Bewes was a member MTF 1. He and other
members of a foot patrol had completed their mission
and were returning to their patrol base in Uruzgan
province's North Baluchi Valley when an IED deto-
nated, killing Pte Bewes.
The short-notice Australian-only patrol was con-
ducted in response to an aggressive insurgent attack
on an Afghan National Army patrol that morning.
The Inquiry Officer made four recommendations
in his report:
The first recommendation was that all temporary
replacements of key command positions be more
carefully managed and that comprehensive handover/
takeovers be conducted.
The second recommendation related to ADF tac-
tics, techniques and procedures and was not publicly
released for operational security reasons.
The third recommendation called for a review into
the authorisation process for members participating
The fourth recommendation was that a
Commission of Inquiry into the incident was not war-
The Chief of the Defence Force has accepted all
four of the Inquiry Officer's recommendations, which
are being implemented.
In addition to the review on authorisation process-
es, a standing instruction has been issued clarifying
command and control arrangements and guidance for
participation in patrols in the Middle East.
As well as providing recommendations, the
Inquiry Officer also commented on a number of mat-
ters that did not have a direct bearing on the death of
A redacted version of the Inquiry Officer's report is available
online at www.defence.gov.au/coi/
Findings released: Pte Nathan Bewes was killed
by an IED in Afghanistan last year.
Sad day: The catafalque party rests on arms during the memorial service for Cpl Ashley Birt, Capt Bryce Duffy and LCpl Luke Gavin
at Multinational Base Tarin Kot, Afghanistan.
Photo by Cpl Dave Prowse
Three good men
AN EMOTIONAL fare-
well from Tarin Kot marked
the beginning of the journey
home for three Australian sol-
diers killed in Afghanistan on
Australian, coalition and
Afghan personnel lined the route
to a waiting Hercules for Cpl
Ashley Birt, Capt Bryce Duffy and
LCpl Luke Gavin on November 1.
The soldiers were killed by
a rogue Afghan National Army
(ANA) member at Forward
Operating Base Pacemaker after a
routine weekly parade.
Seven other Australian sol-
diers were wounded when the
ANA member opened fire with an
automatic weapon. The wound-
ed soldiers are being returned
An Afghan interpreter was
killed and an ANA soldier and
several other contracted inter-
preters were wounded before
Australian soldiers were able to
respond and shoot the gunman.
The commander of ADF per-
sonnel deployed to the Middle
East, Maj-Gen Angus Campbell,
said the Army had lost three cou-
rageous and brave soldiers who
had served with distinction.
"Capt Duffy, Cpl Birt and LCpl
Gavin were held in high regard by
their mates and their command-
ers," Maj-Gen Campbell said.
"Their loss has deeply affected
all Australian and coalition per-
sonnel serving in Afghanistan and
the Middle East.
"In true Anzac spirit they gave
their all because they believed
they were making a difference for
the people of Afghanistan -- their
sacrifice will inspire us as we go
about our crucial mission."
Members of Combined
Team -- Uruzgan (CT-U),
Mentoring Task Force 3 (MTF
3) and their Afghan and coalition
partners paid their final respects at
the emotional ceremony at Tarin
Kot.Personnel reflected on the three
soldiers, their careers, achieve-
ments and the personal qualities
for which they would be remem-
After the ceremony, Australian,
Afghan and International Security
Assistance Force personnel lined
the road from the memorial ser-
vice to the RAAF Hercules.
ANA 4 Bde commander Brig-
Gen Zafar Khan said he was sad-
dened by the deaths.
"We need the help of the
Australian forces to continue until
we are ready," he said.
"I promise that we will defeat
the enemy from Afghanistan
and we appreciate that many
Australians have spent their time
here in Afghanistan and some of
those have given their lives -- this
we truly appreciate and we will
Deputy Commander CT-U Col
Dave Smith said the men had lost
their lives in the service of their
nation and would not be forgotten.
"The best way we can honour
their sacrifice is to redouble our
efforts, because that is what they
deserve," Col Smith said.
Additional psychologists have
been deployed to Afghanistan to
assist in critical incident counsel-
ling and support.
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