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Lance Corporal Jason Marks returns home

03 May 2008

Lance Corporal Jason Marks was returned to Australia today, met by family, friends and colleagues in an emotional ceremony held at RAAF Base Richmond, NSW.

An honour guard and bearer party of soldiers from the 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment Commando, the regiment in which Jason proudly served, received and carried the casket from the aircraft to his family.

The ramp service was the family’s first opportunity to be with Jason since his tragic death in Afghanistan where he was serving as part of the Special Operations Task Group.

Jason’s family and closest friends were present for the solemn ceremony. The private occasion allowed those close to Jason to pay their personal respects to this much loved and dedicated soldier.

The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP; the Shadow Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Bob Baldwin MP, representing the Shadow Minister for Defence; and the Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, attended the ceremony.

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Peter Leahy, and Commander Australian Special Forces, Major General Tim McOwan, were also in attendance and paid tribute to Lance Corporal Marks on behalf of the Australian Army.

"We in the Army extend our heartfelt sympathies to Jason’s family during this difficult time," said Lieutenant General Leahy.

"We are proud of him and the service he gave to his country. He has made the ultimate sacrifice and we will miss him."

Major General McOwan described Lance Corporal Marks as a remarkable soldier who was extremely dedicated to his role as a Commando and Australian soldier.

"Jason epitomized what every Commando strives for: courage, strength and determination. He certainly had a strength of character that set him apart. Jason was an extremely well liked man and his loss will be keenly felt throughout his unit and the wider Army."