It is with great sadness that the Department of Defence announces the death of Australian Commando, Lance Corporal Jason Marks, serving with Special Operations Task Group in Uruzgan Province, approximately 25kilometres southeast of Tarin Kot, in southern Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Marks, 27 years of age from Sydney, was killed during a gun-battle in Afghanistan on Sunday 27 April when Australian soldiers were engaged by Taliban extremists using small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.
More: Media Release | Audio | Imagery of LCPL Marks | Imagery of Ramp Ceremony in Afghanistan
Lance Corporal Jason Marks enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on the 2 March 1999.
After initial training, he was posted to the 4th Field Regiment as a Gunner until 2003, whereupon he transferred to the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps as a Medical Assistant.
In 2005, he undertook Special Forces Entry and Commando Selection, after which he transferred to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and posted to the 4th Battalion (Commando), The Royal Australian Regiment.
Jason has seen operational service in East Timor and Afghanistan, where he has deployed to both theatres on more than one occasion.
Jason was awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry for the outstanding achievements of his unit during their deployment to Afghanistan as part of the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) in 2006.
Whilst deployed in Afghanistan as part of the SOTG in 2008, Jason was killed in action during a gun-battle with Taliban extremists.
Jason was a strong character who was determined to be the best he could be, striving for perfection and living for every moment. His memory was honoured in a memorial service held at 4RAR (Cdo) as friends, family and comrades recounted tales of his steadfastness, determination and humour.
He was survived by his wife and two children.
His name will be forever etched on the 4RAR (Cdo) rock and his memory never forgotten.
Statement from Mrs Cassandra Marks:
Jason always strived to be the best he could be, he loved the Army, he loved his mates and he loved his family.
There are no words to express how we are feeling. Our family is devastated at the tragic loss of Jason in Afghanistan today.
Jason was a devoted father to our two beautiful children and a loving husband to me.
All Jason ever wanted to do was join the Army. He was the type of man who knew what he wanted, even from the age of 12, all Jason ever wanted to be was a soldier.
Becoming a Commando was a dream of Jason’s, he was proud of who he was and proud of what he did.
Jason loved to be active, whether it was through playing union, league or rock climbing. He even became a combat fitness leader in the Army he loved it so much.
Statement from Chief of Army Lieutenant General Peter Leahy:
Jason was a dedicated, professional and greatly respected soldier. We are proud of him and the service he gave to his country. He has made the ultimate sacrifice and will never be forgotten.
The loss of Lance Corporal Jason Marks has been heavily felt throughout the Australian Army. Jason’s death is a tragic reminder of the dangers Australian Defence Force personnel face as they provide the people of Afghanistan with a chance for a better life.
We in the Army extend our heartfelt sympathy to Jason’s wife, children, family and friends. Though no words can alleviate their pain at this terrible time, I hope the knowledge they are in the thoughts and prayers of so many Australians will be of some comfort to them as they deal with their loss.
My thoughts are also with men and women of the Australian Army who are mourning the loss of a colleague and a mate. May your continued service honour Jason’s sacrifice.
Statement from Governor-General, His Excellent Major General Michael Jeffrey, AC CVO MC (Retd):
Last week I spent four days visiting our men and women deployed in the Middle East area of operations. I was privileged to spend my last ANZAC Day as Commander-in-Chief at a Dawn Service with the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and Reconstruction Task Force in Afghanistan.
To hear of the death of Lance Corporal Marks from the SOTG, just three days later, is deeply saddening.
Lance Corporal Marks served with distinction and made a great contribution to our nation, not only in the special forces, in the 4th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, but previously in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps.
On behalf of all Australians I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, family and comrades on the tragic loss of a husband, father and fine soldier.
Furthermore, I send my best wishes for a speedy recovery to our four wounded soldiers.