Trooper Mark Donaldson before he was awarded the VC.
Trooper Mark Donaldson before he was awarded the VC.

VC for former Dorrigo pupil

THE first Australian soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in 40 years went to Dorrigo High School.

Special Air Services (SAS) Trooper Mark Donaldson, now 29, was yesterday presented with the nation's highest military honour for his rescue of a coalition forces interpreter while under heavy fire in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, in September last year.

Trooper Donaldson is quoted as saying he had not really thought about the danger when he went to rescue the stricken interpreter.

“I'm a soldier, I'm trained to fight . . . it's instinct and it's natural,” he said.

“I just saw him there, I went over and got him, that was it.”

He said he was, however, touched to receive the medal, describing the ceremony as “quite emotional and overwhelming . . . it's very humbling.”

The chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who presented the medal to Trooper Donaldson, said he joined a band of brothers admired for their valour, of which there were only 10 surviving in the world today.



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