Corporal Cameron Baird VC, MG, posthumously invested with the Victoria Cross for Australia
18 February 2014
The Governor General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC, CVO, posthumously invested Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird VC, MG, with the Victoria Cross for Australia at a ceremony at Government House in Canberra today.
Corporal Baird, from the 2nd Commando Regiment, based at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney, was killed by small arms fire during an engagement with insurgents in the Khod Valley in southern Afghanistan on 22 June 2013. He has been awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia for his actions in the same engagement which resulted in his death.
Corporal Baird’s citation reads: “For the most conspicuous acts of valour, extreme devotion to duty and ultimate self-sacrifice at Ghawchak village, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan as a Commando Team Commander in Special Operations Task Group on Operation SLIPPER”.
Corporal Baird’s parents, Mr and Mrs Doug and Kaye Baird, today accepted the award on behalf of their son.
In a moving gesture, the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley AC, DSC, saluted Mr and Mrs Baird and Corporal Baird’s brother, Brendan, during the Investiture Ceremony.
"It is a long held military tradition to salute Australia's Victoria Cross recipients. I cannot pay that respect to Cameron today, but I ask that you allow me to salute you on behalf of all those who serve and have served in the Australian Defence Force,” General Hurley said.
"Thank you for his service with us and for the everlasting example of leadership, courage and mateship that is his legacy.
"Cameron has earned his place in the pantheon of those who have served their country with valour in times of war."
The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison AO, said the Investiture Ceremony was an enduring testament to Corporal Baird’s courage and character.
“Corporal Baird epitomises the finest qualities of an Australian soldier; bravery, strength, fearlessness and service before self,” General Morrison said.
“Today, the Australian public joins with the Baird family and the Australian Army as we honour Cameron’s sacrifice and pay tribute to the soldier and the man; a soldier described by his mates as an inspirational leader, a warrior, a brother and a hero.”
Corporal Baird is the fourth Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia, the 100th Australian to receive the award since the Imperial Victoria Cross was first struck in 1856, and the 2nd Commando Regiment’s first recipient of the Victoria Cross.
The Commanding Officer of the 2nd Commando Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel I (identity protected) saluted the life and service of Corporal Baird.
“Today is a momentous day for Cameron’s family, the 2nd Commando Regiment, and the Australian Army,” Lieutenant Colonel I said.
“I ask all soldiers in the Army to contemplate Corporal Baird’s selfless and courageous act of valour and loyalty to his fellow Commandos during the action in which he paid the supreme sacrifice.
“We in the 2nd Commando Regiment stand united in our pride as one of our own is admitted into the most exclusive of military fraternities; the most gallant, the most heroic, the most devoted.
“Cameron’s service reminds all of us of what it means to be selfless, tenacious, and courageous. He will forever be the measure by which all Commandos compare themselves against.”
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.
A statement from the Baird family from the Investiture Ceremony is available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/special_events/cpl_baird/familyStatement.htm
Corporal Baird’s citation and biography are available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/special_events/cpl_baird/index.htm
Official photographs, vision and imagery from the Investiture Ceremony will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20140273
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999