The Victoria Cross is the highest military honor in order of precedence of the Commonwealth's awards. It is akin to our Medal of Honor. There have 99 awards of the VC (or equivalent) to Australians with only 3 of those awards since 1991.
Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran VC has been invested as the recipient
of Australia’s 99th Victoria Cross by Governor-General Quentin Bryce
during a ceremony at Government House, Canberra.
His citation reads: “For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and
extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great peril at
Derapet, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, as part of the Mentoring Task
Force One on Operation SLIPPER” on 24 August 2010.
At the time, Corporal Keighran was a member of the 6th Battalion,
The Royal Australian Regiment which was deployed to Afghanistan with
Mentoring Task Force One.
Corporal Keighran is only the third recipient of the Victoria Cross
for Australia, which in 1991 replaced the British or Imperial Victoria
Cross awarded to 96 Australians. He is the first member of the Royal
Australian Regiment to receive the country’s highest military honour.
Corporal Keighran said he was surprised and honoured to receive the award.
“This is a very unexpected and humbling experience and I don’t think it has really sunk in yet,” Corporal Keighran said.
“I am very proud of the boys from Delta Company, 6 RAR and how they
performed that day. This award is as much for their efforts as it is for
“I would also like to acknowledge my family, friends and especially
my wife Kathryn. They have been very supportive throughout my service
and deployments and I would like to recognise and thank them.”
The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, congratulated
Corporal Daniel Keighran, VC on being awarded the Victoria Cross for
“Corporal Keighran acted with exceptional clarity and composure that
spread to those soldiers around him, giving them confidence to operate
effectively in an extremely stressful and dangerous situation,” General
“His actions identified and suppressed enemy firing points and turned the fight in our favour.
“Corporal Keighran joins an esteemed group of Australians revered
for their courage in combat. The official citation will show that “his
valour is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army
and the Australian Defence Force,” but perhaps the greatest honour comes
from one of his comrades who said ‘I would fight to serve with Corporal
Dan Keighran in the future’.”
The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, commented on
the enduring humility, dedication and mateship demonstrated by Corporal
“Corporal Keighran has shown tremendous humility and has continually
recognised that his actions were undertaken as part of a team,”
Lieutenant General Morrison said.
“His dedication to his mates and to the operation saw him repeatedly
put himself in harm’s way that day. He epitomises ‘Duty First’, the
motto of the Royal Australian Regiment.
“The valour of his actions and those of the other members of his
patrol, are exemplars of the very best in Australian soldiering,”
Lieutenant General Morrison said.
Corporal Keighran had several combat tours and is now a reservist. He has been awarded the following honors and awards:
The full citation for the Victoria Cross is posted after the jump.
Awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia
Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran, VC
For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to
duty in action in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan
Province, Afghanistan as part of the Mentoring Task Force One on
Corporal Keighran deployed to Afghanistan in February 2010 with the
6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. On 24 August 2010 he was a
member of a partnered fighting patrol with soldiers of the Afghan
National Army’s 1st Kandak, 4th Brigade, 205th (Hero) Corps which was
engaged by a numerically superior and coordinated enemy attack from
multiple firing points in three separate locations. The attack was
initiated by a high volume of sustained and accurate machine-gun and
small-arms fire which pinned down the combined Australian and Afghan
patrol and caused a loss of momentum.
In the early stages of the attack, and upon realising that the
forward elements of the patrol needed effective fire support, Corporal
Keighran and another patrol member moved under sustained and accurate
enemy fire to an exposed ridgeline to identify enemy locations and
direct the return fire of both Australian and Afghan machine guns.
On reaching this position and with complete disregard for his own
wellbeing, Corporal Keighran deliberately drew enemy fire by leaving
the limited cover he had and moved over the ridgeline in order to
positively identify targets for the machine gunners of the combined
patrol. After identifying some of the enemy firing positions, Corporal
Keighran, under persistent enemy fire continued to lead and mentor his
team and move around the ridge to both direct the fire of the Afghan and
Australian machine gunners and to move them to more effective firing
As the intensity of enemy fire grew, Corporal Keighran returned to
the crest of the ridgeline to identify targets and adjust the fire of
Australian Light Armoured vehicles. His actions resulted in the
effective suppression of enemy firing points, which assisted in turning
the fight in the favour of the combined patrol. Moving to a new
position, Corporal Keighran deliberately and repeatedly again exposed
himself to heavy enemy fire to assist in target identification and the
marking of the forward line of troops for fire support elements whilst
simultaneously engaging the enemy.
Realising that the new position provided a better location for the
patrol’s joint fire controller, Corporal Keighran moved over 100 metres
across exposed parts of the ridgeline, attracting a high volume of
accurate enemy fire, to locate and move the fire controller to the new
position. He then rose from cover again to expose his position on four
successive occasions, each movement drawing more intense fire than the
last in order to assist in the identification of a further three enemy
firing points that were subsequently engaged by fire support elements.
During one of these occasions, when his patrol sustained an
Australian casualty, Corporal Keighran with complete disregard for his
own safety, left his position of cover on the ridgeline to deliberately
draw fire away from the team treating the casualty. Corporal Keighran
remained exposed and under heavy fire while traversing the ridgeline, in
order to direct suppressing fire and then assist in the clearance of
the landing zone to enable evacuation of the casualty.
Corporal Keighran’s acts of the most conspicuous gallantry to
repeatedly expose himself to accurate and intense enemy fire, thereby
placing himself in grave danger, ultimately enabled the identification
and suppression of enemy firing positions by both Australian and Afghan
fire support elements. These deliberate acts of exceptional courage in
circumstances of great peril were instrumental in permitting the
withdrawal of the combined Australian and Afghan patrol with no further
casualties. His valour is in keeping with the finest traditions of the
Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.