Corporal Baird was a member of the Special Operations Task Group and was from the 2nd Commando Regiment based at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney, New South Wales. Corporal Baird, 32, was shot dead during a battle to take an insurgent-held compound in the village of Ghawchak, in Afghanistan’s Khod Valley, on June 22 last year. Corporal Baird is survived by his parents and his brother.
Corporal Baird was born in Burnie, Tasmania in 1981. He joined the Army in January 2000 and upon completion of his initial employment training was posted to the then 4th Battalion (Commando), The Royal Australian Regiment, now the 2nd Commando Regiment, in February 2000.
Corporal Baird was an outstanding Special Forces soldier. He exemplified what it meant to be a Commando, living by the attributes of uncompromising spirit and honour, which in turn earned him the unconditional respect of his fellow Commandos. His leadership in action was exemplary, constantly inspiring those around him to achieve greater things. Corporal Baird was an extremely dedicated and disciplined soldier, always striving for excellence in everything he did.
Corporal Baird died how he lived – at the front, giving it his all, without any indecision. He will forever be remembered by his mates and the soldiers he served with in the 2nd Commando Regiment.
Corporal Baird has been awarded the following honours and awards:
- Victoria Cross – awarded posthumously on 13 Feb 2014
- Medal for Gallantry,
- Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp East Timor, Clasp Iraq 2003, Clasp International Coalition Against Terrorism,
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal,
- Iraq Campaign Medal,
- Australian Service Medal with Clasp – Counter Terrorism / Special Recovery,
- Australian Defence Medal,
- United Nations Medal with Ribbon United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor,
- NATO non article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF and Multiple Tour Indicator (3),
- Infantry Combat Badge, and
- Returned from Active Service Badge.
During Corporal Baird’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on the following operations:
- Operation TANAGER (Timor-Leste) – April 2001 – October 2001,
- Operation BASTILLE (Iraq) – February 2003 – March 2003
- Operation FALCONER (Iraq) – March 2003 – May 2003
- Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – August 2007 – January 2008,
- Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – March 2009 – July 2009,
- Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – July 2011 – February 2012,
- Operation SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – February 2013 – June 2013.