PERSONAL STATEMENT RELEASED ON BEHALF OF THE PARENTS OF PRIVATE RANAUDO
Firstly we would like to say how proud we are of our son. Benjamin was a proud soldier. He believed in what he did. It was more than a job it was his passion, his life.
He was a son, a brother, a comrade, a life partner. His smile could light up the darkest of days. Ben touched the lives of so many with his warm heart. His strong spirit carried his family and friends through his absence and it will carry them through their loss.
Our heart goes out to the injured soldier and his family.
We thank the nation for your kind words and condolences. The response has been overwhelming. We would also like to thank the Defence Force for their support in our time of need; they have been both professional and compassionate.
To Benjamin’s comrades, our support is with you. You have lost a friend and a brother. You are all in our hearts.
We send our support and prayers to all the men and women serving here and overseas keeping our country safe.
Please let’s not let Benjamin’s death, and the death of the other 10 soldiers be in vain.
The casket of Private Benjamin Ranaudo is carried by his fellow section members of Combat Team Alpha, international Honour Guard to an awaiting aircraft to begin his journey home.
Photo courtesy of Australian MOD.
Below is b-roll (un-edited footage) of a memorial service held for Australian army Pvt. Benjamin Ranaudo in Afghanistan. Scenes include an Australian army soldier speaking at the memorial service and Australian army soldiers laying wreaths down.
Australian MOD Press Release:
Members of the 2nd Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force (MRTF-2) have farewelled their mate, Private Benjamin Ranaudo, who was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday the 18th of July.
The 22-year old died early in the morning while on operations north of Tarin Kowt. He was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) several hours after 4 Section, 2 Platoon occupied a security position during a cordon and search in the Baluchi Valley.
The cordon and search was designed to disrupt a known IED facilitation and logistics node which had been responsible for attacks on coalition forces.
In a moving memorial service and ramp ceremony on Monday the 20th of July, members of coalition forces, including the Afghan National Army, lined the road to the runway where the plane was waiting to take Ben home.
Commanding Officer of the MRTF-2, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Connolly said Ben will be sorely missed.
“Many people are hurting right now as we grieve the loss of this exceptional soldier. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this difficult time,” said LTCOL Connolly.
LTCOL Connolly said Ben’s death reminded everyone that Australian soldiers have a difficult job but the cowardly attack, that also wounded civilians, would strengthen the battle group’s resolve.
He praised the soldiers in Ben’s section for their leadership and cool, calm professionalism after the IED blast.
“The thing about the attack is that it was completely indiscriminate. To me that is an act of complete cowardice,” said LTCOL Connolly.
MRTF-2 Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class One Darren Murch, said Ben was a fine example of a soldier.
“He was a highly skilled infantryman and always put his mates first. He was a pleasure to be around and displayed the true qualities of the Australian soldier,” said WO1 Murch.
Commander of Australian Forces in the Middle East, Major General Mark Kelly AO, said the memorial service and ramp ceremony was a fitting tribute to Ben, a wonderful young Australian.
“The ceremony marks the first stage of Ben’s journey home to his family in Australia. The thoughts and prayers of all deployed ADF personnel of Joint Task Force 633 in Afghanistan and Middle East go out to Ben’s family and to his mates in his Army family, as we all deal with the loss of this fine young man. We will remember him,” said MAJGEN Kelly.
LTCOL Connolly said we should also keep in our thoughts the MRTF-2 soldier who was severely wounded in the IED blast. LTCOL Connolly said the soldier is in high spirits and is recovering in hospital.
MRTF-2 has been working closely with coalition partners and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to ensure safety is improved in the lead up to the election, which will be held in August.