24 September 2012

Defence Inquiry into the combat death of Sapper Rowan Robinson finalised

The Australian Department of Defence, via this media release, announced it has finalised the inquiry into the death of Sapper Rowan Robinson in Afghanistan on 6 June 2011.

Sapper Robinson was a Combat Engineer, from the Sydney-based Incident Response Regiment (now called the Special Operations Engineer Regiment), serving with the Special Operations Task Group. He was shot and killed during a small arms engagement with insurgents in southern Afghanistan following the discovery of one of the largest insurgent caches found by Australian Special Forces last year.

He received immediate first aid and was evacuated by helicopter to a nearby International Security Assistance Force medical facility. Despite efforts by combat first aiders and a medical trauma team to save him, Sapper Robinson succumbed to his wounds.

An Inquiry Officer was appointed to examine the circumstances surrounding Sapper Robinson’s death.

The Inquiry Officer made three recommendations in his report.

One of the recommendations was that the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into Sapper Robinson’s combat death was not warranted. That recommendation has been accepted by the Minister for Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF).

Defence has accepted the other two recommendations and is taking action to implement them. Details of recommendations that may compromise operational security or affect privacy cannot be publicly released.

Defence has briefed Sapper Robinson’s family on the findings of the Inquiry Officer’s Report into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, MP, has weighed the wishes of the family and the public interest in the release of the Report and decided not to release the Inquiry Officer Report into Sapper Robinson’s death.

Sapper Robinson’s loss is still deeply felt by his family. They do not wish to conduct any media interviews and have requested that the media continue to respect their privacy.

[Note:  Rowan, who was fondly known as "Robbo" was awarded posthumous membership at North Bondi RSL Sub-Branch where I serve as its Honorary Secretary.  While I did not personally know Rowan, those who did and who have spoken with me have conveyed that he was quite a special and remarkable young man.  We added Robbo's name to our Honour Roll within our RSL Sub-Branch and Club on the 1st anniversary of his death.  Robbo's memory will live-on at North Bondi RSL through its members and his sacrifice will always be remembered.]

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