Commandos, family and friends remembered Corporal Cameron Baird, VC, MG, during a solemn memorial service at Holsworthy Barracks on Friday, 20 June 2014.
A year after he was killed in action, Corporal Baird’s family were presented with the posthumously awarded NATO Meritorious Service Medal, along with a replica set of medals.
The NATO Meritorious Service Medal, awarded by the NATO Secretary General, is presented to personnel who have been commended for providing exceptional or remarkable service to NATO. Corporal Baird was awarded the highest NATO award for the same courageous actions in Afghanistan in which he lost his life and received the Victoria Cross.
During the memorial service, a catafalque party of commandos formed around the plinth, which was previously used at Camp Russell in Tarin Kot to commemorate the members of the Special Operations Task Group who were killed in Afghanistan since 2002.
Commanding Officer 2nd Commando Regiment Lieutenant Colonel I said the service was significant for the regiment because it commemorated Corporal Baird’s life and his tragic loss.
“The award of the NATO Meritorious Service Medal is not given lightly and puts Cameron in the elite company of others who have been given the award,” Lieutenant Colonel I said.
“The day was also an opportunity for us to present his parents, Doug and Kaye, and his brother Brendan with a Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, which epitomises the history and culture of the 2nd Commando Regiment.
“Cameron’s service will be a large part of the regiment’s history, particularly when it comes to Afghanistan.
“His personality and traits reflect very positively on our unit culture. Cameron was someone who set a standard for all of us to aspire to, which is his gift to us for perpetuity.”
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson also attended the memorial service and presented the 2nd Commando Regiment with a replica of Corporal Baird’s M4 carbine, which is displayed in Canberra.
Lieutenant Colonel I said Dr Nelson had always been a strong supporter of the regiment.
“Dr Nelson has worked tirelessly in commemorating and memorialising our service and his visit to the unit is a reflection of just how much he cares,” Lieutenant Colonel I said.
“It was wonderful to welcome Cameron’s family here to take time out and reflect on Cameron’s life with his regimental family.
“Our regimental birthday is June 19, the anniversary of the 2010 Black Hawk crash in Afghanistan is June 21 and the loss of Corporal Baird is June 22, which means this week is significant for the Australian special forces community and an important time to reflect on our history and sacrifices.”