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Australian soldier honoured with Victoria Cross

Corporal Daniel Keighran, VC
Corporal Daniel Keighran, VC.

Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran VC has been invested as the recipient of Australia’s 99th Victoria Cross by Governor-General Quentin Bryce during a ceremony at Government House, Canberra.

His citation reads: “For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, as part of the Mentoring Task Force One on Operation SLIPPER” on 24 August 2010.

At the time, Corporal Keighran was a member of the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment which was deployed to Afghanistan with Mentoring Task Force One.

Corporal Keighran is only the third recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia, which in 1991 replaced the British or Imperial Victoria Cross awarded to 96 Australians. He is the first member of the Royal Australian Regiment to receive the country’s highest military honour.

Corporal Keighran said he was surprised and honoured to receive the award.

“This is a very unexpected and humbling experience and I don’t think it has really sunk in yet,” Corporal Keighran said.

“I am very proud of the boys from Delta Company, 6 RAR and how they performed that day. This award is as much for their efforts as it is for mine.

“I would also like to acknowledge my family, friends and especially my wife Kathryn. They have been very supportive throughout my service and deployments and I would like to recognise and thank them.”

The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, congratulated Corporal Daniel Keighran, VC on being awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia.

“Corporal Keighran acted with exceptional clarity and composure that spread to those soldiers around him, giving them confidence to operate effectively in an extremely stressful and dangerous situation,” General Hurley said.

“His actions identified and suppressed enemy firing points and turned the fight in our favour.

“Corporal Keighran joins an esteemed group of Australians revered for their courage in combat. The official citation will show that “his valour is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force,” but perhaps the greatest honour comes from one of his comrades who said ‘I would fight to serve with Corporal Dan Keighran in the future’.”

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, commented on the enduring humility, dedication and mateship demonstrated by Corporal Keighran.

“Corporal Keighran has shown tremendous humility and has continually recognised that his actions were undertaken as part of a team,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

“His dedication to his mates and to the operation saw him repeatedly put himself in harm’s way that day. He epitomises ‘Duty First’, the motto of the Royal Australian Regiment.

“The valour of his actions and those of the other members of his patrol, are exemplars of the very best in Australian soldiering,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.