Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS -

It was the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Task Group’s fourth ro­ta­tion — and the tra­di­tional sum­mer fight­ing sea­son with 50C tem­per­a­tures “like hav­ing a hair dryer to your face”.

The pla­toon from 4RAR Cdo’s Al­pha Com­pany was near the town of Khas Oruz­gan when a burst of ra­dio chat­ter in­di­cated Tal­iban in for­ti­fied po­si­tions in the cliff face were pre­par­ing to at­tack.

The Aus­tralians were ex­posed on the val­ley floor, with lit­tle cover.

“Our pla­toon de­cided to do a dis­mounted pa­trol up to this ridge to do a bit of a re­con,” Tieche said.

As they crept up the moun­tain­side, “a hail of bul­lets and rocket fire” erupted. El­liott, then 25, copped the brunt of the am­bush.

“I didn’t re­ally know where it came from,” he re­called from his home at Avoca, north of Syd­ney.

“I just saw a cloud of dust come up around and bul­lets strik­ing the ground. From there I knew my leg was bro­ken. It just crum­pled un­der­neath me.”

The en­try wound was the size of a fin­ger­nail but the round ripped a fist-sized hole through his but­tock on the way out. The su­per fit sol­dier rapidly lost blood and went into shock.

Mates sprinted for­ward and dragged him be­hind a rock as the com­man­dos fired at the en­emy above them.

“They were shield­ing my body from gun­fire,” El­liott said. A com­mando pro­vided ini­tial treat­ment and the call went out to send for­ward a Bush­mas­ter ar­moured ve­hi­cle car­ry­ing the unit’s medic — co­de­named “Kilo”.

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