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A Current Affair -

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(generated from captions) to save a mate's life. during a firefight with the Taliban for outstanding bravery. This is his story. in the dirt next to you. you can see it kicking up for Australia. awarded the Victoria Cross you get hit, sometimes you don't. and 50/50, you know - sometimes and he's someone else. Now, one short Canberra ceremony It's really a great honour for Mark to be married to him, really. and it's an honour for me and baby Kaylee He has a loving wife, Emma, By tradition, even the top brass, of the defence forces, including the head salute him. Air Marshall Sir Angus Houston, the rank of Australian heroes. Trooper Mark Donaldson joins from the fuss, back to work. But he can't wait to get away to Afghanistan? Would you like to go back to wherever they send me. I'd like to go back I'm keen to go and do it You know, whatever job they give me as my mates are there for me, and as long long to give interviews. It's even rarer for them extraordinary story and his VC Trooper Donaldson's is the last thing he wants. But all this palaver To be honest with you going out there and doing the job. it makes me more nervous than The day of the battle, was patrolling a remote valley Mark Donaldson's unit in southern Afghanistan. and signatures that we can use. I guess, you know, there's signs and children leave the towns, A lot of the time, the women when something's going to happen. leave the villages on a winding road. it was late afternoon at the time. We were travelling in the vehicles about about 300m maybe. We were probably spread out thrown in there as well. and there was a few Afghanis and we'd just driven - There was this gully, to drive through that, or we were just about and that's when it initiated. lots of 7.62 getting fired at us. There was lots of small arms fire, a lot of metal in the air? There must have been flying around. Yeah, there was a fair bit in your head? I mean, what's happening shooting back, you know. You're just worried about left, right and centre because there's guns going off going off so... and rifles and heavy machine-guns Then all the while there at some stage as well. I'm pretty sure, there was mortars saved a desperate situation. This was when his actions out there, If you see 'em in trouble or you go and protect 'em, you go an help 'em out you give them covering fire. and was shooting my weapon I just ran out and was shooting that back. to help out other fellas. I guess it gave the guys time I was just doing my job, you know. Like I said, that's all I was doing. The battle raged on, to move to more sheltered ground. but eventually Mark's unit was able his gallantry was again called upon, As they were doing that, of the vehicles at the time we couldn't get on the back and the vehicles were in a convoy. got hit by an air-bursting RPG, The vehicle in front towards the ground. and sent shrapnel down he'd been blown out the back of it and they didn't realise that and they just kept driving. I just ran over there and got him. Yeah, I saw him over there, so at the time? But you were being fired at, pretty heavy and pretty accurate. Yeah, that's right. It was It was kicking all around us. I got him back to the vehicle. and then we, to think about what had happened. that Mark and his comrades had time without getting hit so... I got out of there Are you a fatalist? Do you put it down to anything? Do you believe in luck or training? Are you religious? You're a soldier, you do your job. other living VC winners. At the ceremony, one of the only two Warrant Officer Keith Payne, of Mark Donaldson's award. summed up the rare distinction with a Victoria Cross. he's a soldier 'ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR' ) ( BRASS BAND PLAYS change our lives of how much it would affect our lives at the time. and how much it would done a really good job." I just thought, "Wow! He must have Trooper Mark Donaldson, VC. Our guest of honour is across there, to the National War Memorial, Mark has lent his VC it can best use our latest VC winner. while the army decides where your hand in the street and says, if someone comes up and shakes "Good on you, good job." shake your hand afterwards You know, when your mates you did a good job, that's... and say that like you've done good It makes you feel