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The Student Leadership Programme

Corporal Mark Donaldson

Victoria Cross Recipient

Mark Donaldson was born in Newcastle, New South Wales and joined the Australian Regular Army in 2002. Since successfully completing the Special Air Service selection course in February 2004 he has been deployed on operations with the Special Air Service Regiment on several occasions. He has been wounded in action twice and has been deployed to Timor-Leste (East Timor), Afghanistan and Iraq.

On 2 September 2008, during his second operational tour in Afghanistan, Mark Donaldson was returning to base in the Oruzgan province when his convoy was ambushed. In heavy fighting, he moved from cover to cover to engage the enemy with anti-armour weapons as well as his own rifle, several times drawing the enemy’s fire away from the wounded.

Mark Donaldson was awarded the Victoria Cross for these actions. His citation reads:

“For most conspicuous acts of gallantry in action in a circumstance of great peril in Afghanistan as part of the Special Operations Task Group during Operation SLIPPER, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.”

He was also awarded the Australian Active Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Australian Defence Medal, and the NATO Medal. The National Australia Day Council made him Young Australian of the Year in 2010. He released his memoir, The Crossroad: A Story of Life, Death and the SAS in November 2013.

Mark Donaldson continues to serve full-time in the Australian Army.