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Farewell to Commando Sergeant Brett Wood, MG

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[3 June 2011]

Farewell to Commando Sergeant Brett Wood, MG

Hundreds of family, friends and fellow commandos have commemorated the life of Sergeant Brett Wood, MG, in a moving funeral service today at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney.

Thirty-two year old Sergeant Wood was killed in action during a partnered Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and Afghan National Security Forces targeting mission against insurgent leaders in southern Afghanistan on May 23.

Sydneysiders and soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder to pay respects to Sergeant Wood as his coffin was marched into the Cathedral by his commando mates.

Sergeant Wood’s wife, Elvi spoke of her everlasting respect and love for her fallen husband. “To say Brett was humble is an understatement. He did not want to be defined by his achievements and introduced himself as just an ordinary guy. His most frequent expression

was ‘no big deal’,” Mrs Wood said.

“Brett died a soldier, a commando, a warrior, a leader, a brother in arms, a true patriot, a hero - my hero, but Brett, to me; you will always be my husband. “You were one person who could make me feel safe, lift my worries and fears with just a smile or by holding me close. My heart is heavy with the knowledge that you will no longer walk by my side.”

Commanding Officer of the 2nd Commando Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel C paid homage to Sergeant Wood.

“[Brett] was a highly decorated warrior who at every stage responded when the nation called… prepared to step into the unknown in order to make a difference. “Brett demonstrated a bias for action - he had the mental fortitude and physical toughness to persevere and overcome,” Lieutenant Colonel C said.

Sergeant Wood was later laid to rest at private burial service in western Sydney. He is survived by his wife Elvi, his mother Alison, and father David.

The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister; the Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Defence; the Hon Tony Abbott MP, Leader of the Opposition; Senator the Hon David Johnston, Shadow Minister for Defence; the Hon Barry O’Farrell MLA, Premier of New South Wales; Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC AFC, Chief of the Defence Force; Dr Ian Watt, Secretary for Defence; Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie AC DSC CSM, Chief of Army; Major General Gus Gilmore AM DSC, Special Operations Commander Australia; Commissioner Andrew Scipione APM, Commissioner NSW Police Force; and local dignitaries attended the funeral.

Sergeant Wood was one of Australia’s most experienced Special Forces soldiers. He deployed to Afghanistan on three deployments (2006, 2009 and 2011), Iraq (2003), East Timor (2001) and Bougainville (2000). He was a member of the 2nd Commando Regiment’s

Tactical Assault Group (East) counter terrorism force during 2005 to 2008.

Sergeant Wood was awarded the Medal for Gallantry; the Australian Active Service Medal with clasps: East Timor, International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT) and Iraq 2003; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Australian Service Medal with clasps: Bougainville and Counter Terrorism - Special Recovery; the Australian Long Service Medal, the Australian Defence Medal; United Nations East Timor Medal; NATO ISAF Medal;

Special Operations Commander Australia Commendation; and Unit Citation for Gallantry. He was also awarded the Infantry Combat Badge. Yesterday, Sergeant Wood was posthumously awarded the United States Meritorious Service Medal.

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