Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Defence Stephen Smith today announced that the Australian Army’s Special Operations Command will receive the first Army Battle Honour since the end of the Vietnam War.
The Battle Honour is for outstanding performance during the Shah Wali Kot Offensive in Afghanistan from May to June 2010.
The Battle Honour, titled Eastern Shah Wali Kot, has been awarded in recognition of the operational actions of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and 2nd Commando Regiment (2 Cdo Regt) from the Australian Special Operations Task Group Rotation XII.
The Prime Minister congratulated the Special Operations Task Group on the Battle Honour, which was awarded under revised guidelines that acknowledge the way the Army fights in the modern era.
“The combined achievements of SASR and 2 Cdo Regt during the Shah Wali Kot Offensive are worthy of the highest praise,” the Prime Minister said.
Minister Smith said, “We acknowledge the efforts made by all elements of the Special Operations Task Group including significant contributions from Special Operations engineers, signallers, logisticians and headquarters support staff, as well as the United States 101st Airborne Division.
“Their outstanding performance has now been recognised in the same manner as similar performances have been recognised in the past.”
The efforts of the SASR and 2 Cdo Regt during the engagement were highly commended by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command for the contribution it made to overall ISAF efforts to disrupt insurgent activities in the region around Eastern Shah Wali Kot, one of their traditional stronghold areas.
The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, recommended that the SASR and 2 Cdo Regt receive formal recognition for their outstanding performance during the offensive.
The Chief of Army directed the Battle Honour Committee to examine all Army engagements since the Vietnam War to determine whether actions since then are eligible for formal recognition under the revised guidelines.
The Battle Honour will be formally presented to the Regiments later this year.
Prime Minister's Press Office: (02) 6277 7744
Minister Smith's Office: (02) 6277 7800