SGT Blaine Diddams returns home to Australia
9 July 2012
Sergeant Blaine Diddams, the Special Air Service Regiment soldier killed in Afghanistan last week, has returned home to his family and mates at a solemn and moving ceremony held this afternoon at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia.
Soldiers from the Special Air Service Regiment formed an honour guard and bearer party to escort Sergeant Diddams’ casket from the Royal Australian Air Force aircraft to his grieving family.
The Deputy Chief of Army, Major General Angus Campbell, AM said the impact of SGT Diddams’ death went far beyond just his unit.
“Today Blaine returned back to the care of his family and loved ones.
“My deepest sympathies are extended to Blaine’s family, but also to all those in the wider Army family who came to know this remarkable, selfless and dedicated soldier.
“Today both families recognise the sacrifice this fallen soldier has made in service to his country,” Major General Campbell said.
Special Operations Commander Australia, Major General ‘Gus’ Gilmore paid tribute to a distinguished member of the special forces community.
“The scale of our loss of Sergeant Diddams is perhaps only surpassed by our recognition of his contribution to Australia over so many years in so many places and at such a consistently high standard.
“Blaine is forever engraved in the history of our nation and the proud history of the Special Air Service Regiment, and his leadership, courage and dedication to his mates will inspire generations of Australian soldiers to come,” Major General Gilmore said.
Forty-year-old SGT Diddams was shot during an engagement with insurgents on 2 July, while on a partnered mission targeting an insurgent commander in the Chorah region of Uruzgan province.
The ceremony was attended by SGT Diddams’ family and friends, members of his regiment, the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley; Secretary of Defence, Mr Duncan Lewis; Deputy Chief of Army, Major General Angus Campbell; and Special Operations Commander, Major General ‘Gus’ Gilmore.
Media note: High Resolution Imagery of the ramp ceremony will be available on the Defence Image Gallery at http://images.defence.gov.au/12130103 after 8pm (AEST) Monday, 9 July 2012.
Media note: Vision will be pooled by ABC TV Perth.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999