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Fallen soldier awarded Victoria Cross

Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird, VC, MG

Governor General Quentin Bryce has announced that Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird, MG has been awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia posthumously.

Corporal Baird, from the 2nd Commando Regiment based at Sydney’s Holsworthy Barracks, was killed by small arms fire during an engagement with insurgents in the Khod Valley in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, 22 June 2013.

Corporal Baird was serving with a 2nd Commando Regiment element of the Australian Special Operations Task Group at the time of his death, and was the 40th Australian to be killed in action in Afghanistan,

Corporal Baird’s citation for the Victoria Cross will be announced by the Governor General at an Investiture Ceremony at Government House on 18 February 2014. The award will be conferred on Corporal Baird’s parents, Doug and Kaye.

Mr Doug Baird, Mrs Kaye Baird and Corporal Baird’s brother, Brendan, issued the following statement:

“Today is a proud day for the Baird family.

“It is a tremendous honour for us to be here on Cameron’s behalf for this announcement.

“We would like to thank the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force for the recognition this award bestows upon Cameron, our son and brother.

“As a loving family this is a bittersweet moment, as Cameron is no longer with us; but we are honoured to have him recognised in this way and through him, all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their beloved country.

“We would especially like to thank our extended family, the 2nd Commando Regiment, for their unwavering support.

“Cameron never liked the limelight. He was a very humble man who would not see this as an individual award, but recognition of the entire 2nd Commando Regiment.

“We accept this award not only on behalf of Cameron, but for his brothers – his team, his company, and his Regiment. Without Warning.”

Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley said Corporal Baird was an exemplary Commando whose actions deserve Australia's highest military honour.

“I am immensely proud of Corporal Baird's unwavering courage and determination in the face of grave danger but I am equally saddened by his selfless sacrifice and the Baird family's loss,” General Hurley said.

“Corporal Baird was a true modern day warrior who set a standard that every soldier aspires to achieve. Modest yet inspirational, he led from the front and others followed.

“Corporal Baird represents the best of the ANZAC spirit. Australians should never forget the sacrifice he made in our nation's name.”

Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison said the award was bittersweet recognition of Corporal Baird’s extraordinary character, leadership by example and courage in perilous circumstances.

“The Army family is tremendously proud of this fine soldier,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

“Corporal Baird’s selfless devotion to the mission, together with his bravery and leadership, undoubtedly saved the lives of his mates on that day in June 2013.”

“Today we honour not only the memory of Corporal Baird, but also the actions of a soldier who put devotion to duty before his life and paid the ultimate sacrifice for his bravery.”

Corporal Baird is the fourth Australian to receive the Victoria Cross for Australia and the 100th Australian to receive a Victoria Cross since the award was first was created by Queen Victoria in 1856.