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Second SAS Afghan Victoria Cross for heroic charge
THE act of extreme courage that earned Australia's latest SAS hero the Victoria Cross was similar to the storming of a Japanese machinegun post by previous VC winner Edward Kenna in the jungles of Papua New Guinea during World War II.
The Special Air Service Regiment soldier, identified so far as "Lance Corporal Ben", will receive his Victoria Cross from Governor-General Quentin Bryce at a ceremony in Perth on Sunday.
It is understood the soldier has already won the Medal for Gallantry in 2006.
He is the second SAS soldier to win the VC in two years. In September 2008, then Trooper Mark Donaldson received the top award for protecting wounded soldiers under heavy enemy fire and then dashing across 80m of open ground to rescue a wounded Afghan interpreter.
The new VC soldier was recommended for the award for his actions during a fierce gun battle last October in the Shah Wali Kot region of northern Kandahar, a key stronghold of diehard Taliban militants. Senior Defence sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Australian the soldier was in his 30s and was born in Western Australia.
He just tore into the enemy," one of the soldier's friends was quoted as saying.
"He is the epitome of the Spartan soldier. It was only a matter of time before he would demonstrate his true ability."