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Release of Inquiry Officer's report into the death of Private Greg Sher

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Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 62656946

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MSPA 151/09 Thursday, 7 May 2009


The Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Mark Evans, today released the Inquiry Officer’s report into the death of Private Gregory Sher in Afghanistan on 4 January this year.

The Inquiry Officer concluded that Private Sher was killed instantly when he was struck by an insurgent 107mm rocket.

Private Sher was treated immediately at the scene by members of the Special Forces Task Group. Treatment only ceased when it was obvious that Private Sher was not capable of being revived.

The Inquiry Officer concluded that the Special Operations Task Group was conducting an operation in accordance with issued orders; established tactics, techniques, and procedures; and with due regard to the assessed risks involved.

The Inquiry Officer found that pre-operational planning, orders and preparations were all adequate and did not contribute to the incident. The threat of 107mm rocket strike was considered and appropriate risk analysis was conducted regarding the threat.

The Inquiry Officer did not identify any significant deficiencies in the system or method of control relating to the death of Private Sher.

The Chief of Defence Force has agreed with all of the Inquiry Officer’s recommendations, which relate to improvements to Defence documents, and has released a Directive to relevant Defence stakeholders, directing they action these recommendations.

Lieutenant General Evans said, “Private Sher’s death was an unfortunate and highly unlikely occurrence”.

“While our soldiers are well-trained and well-equipped, conflict always comes with great risks. Sadly there will always be the possibility that we will lose good soldiers like Private Sher.

“Private Sher’s death is deeply felt by all of us in the Australian Defence Force, and we again offer our condolences to his family and friends,” he said.

Media Note: An unclassified version of the Inquiry Officer’s report is available for download from: Redactions have been made to the original report in order to protect tactics, techniques, procedures and the identities of Special Forces personnel.

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664