02 February 2012

Report released into the death of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney

The Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin AO, today released an inquiry report into the death of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney. The report can be found here.

Lance Corporal MacKinney was killed in action in Afghanistan on 24 August 2010 during an intense fire-fight between an element of the Mentoring Task Force 1 and Taliban insurgents near the village of Derapet in the Tangi Valley.

Air Marshal (AIRMSHL) Binskin said Lance Corporal MacKinney was shot and killed by a single round from an insurgent weapon approximately half an hour into the battle.

“Soldiers provided Lance Corporal MacKinney with immediate first aid and continued to give him CPR until an Aero Medical Evacuation (AME) helicopter arrived,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.

“The AME was conducted under enemy fire. The AME team, the soldiers preparing the landing zone and those providing first aid demonstrated tremendous courage. However, Lance Corporal MacKinney’s wound was not survivable. He was killed instantly.”

Lance Corporal MacKinney was wearing his issued combat helmet and body armour system with plates fitted both front and rear at the time of his death. There is no evidence of any failure in his protective equipment.

There was no evidence of any substantial weakness or deficiency in relation to the specific incident involving Lance Corporal MacKinney.

AIRMSHL Binskin also said the inquiry officer examined in detail concerns raised in an email by a soldier who was involved in the fight at Derapet.

He raised concerns regarding support provided to the patrol on 24 August:, specifically access to fire support, post-activity intelligence and ammunition.

“The Inquiry Officer ("IO") determined there was no failure to make mortar support available to the patrol during the battle. Coalition 120mm mortars were on site and were an integral part of the fire support plan.

“In addition, a review of the post-activity intelligence reports was conducted and there was no failing in the intelligence reporting for the incident on 24 August.

“The [IO] was also satisfied that no member exhausted his total ammunition supply during the battle. There were appropriate measures in place for re-supply and there was sufficient ammunition for a contact of that scale,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.

When interviewed as part of the inquiry, the soldier described his email as a form of ‘venting’ as part of a grieving process for the loss of his mate.

No action has been taken against the soldier who raised the issues.

The IO believed the email did not represent a genuine complaint but was a simple expression of grief.

The IO made one recommendation: that a Commission of Inquiry into this incident is not warranted. This recommendation has been agreed to by ADF and the Minister of Defence.

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