BAIRD, Cameron Stewart
|4 January 2000
|2nd Commando Regiment
|Burnie, Tasmania, Australia , 7 June 1981
|Gladstone Park, Hume, Victoria
|Gladstone Views Primary and Gladstone Park Secondary College
|Killed in Action, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, 22 June 2013, aged 32 years
Rookwood Cemetery & Crematorium
Garden of Remembrance Wall: 46 Row: Panel: D
|Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cameron Stewart Baird V.C. MG. Memorial, Doreen Corporal Cameron Baird V.C. Memorial Plaque, Geraldton Afghanistan Honour Roll, New South Wales Garden of Remembrance (Rookwood Necropolis), Sale RSL Afghanistan Honour Roll, Two Wells Afghanistan War Memorial, Yungaburra Afghanistan Avenue of Honour
|4 Jan 2000:
|Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, 8231781
|7 Oct 2001:
|Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Corporal, 8231781
|22 Jun 2013:
|Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Corporal, 8231781, 2nd Commando Regiment
Awarded the Medal for Gallantry (MG Citation)
For gallantry in action during close quarters combat in Afghanistan on Operation SLIPPER.
Lance Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird was part of a Commando Company mission assigned for clearance and search of a Taliban stronghold in November 2007. During the initial phase of the clearance, Lance Corporal Baird’s Platoon came under heavy fire and during the ensuing close-range fire-fight, a member of his team was mortally wounded. Displaying complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Baird led other members of his team forward under heavy fire from machine guns and assault rifles to recover the wounded team member back to a position of cover.
He then re-entered the compound and continued to engage the enemy. Even though under constant fire, Lance Corporal Baird continually moved amongst his team members coordinating their fire, and throwing grenades to neutralise the enemy machine gun positions. Once the close quarter battle had been won, Lance Corporal Baird again led his team forward and began room-to-room clearance, where he was again engaged by several enemy. Lance Corporal Baird continued to lead the fight, killing several enemy and successfully completing the clearance.
Throughout the action, Lance Corporal Baird displayed conspicuous gallantry, composure and superior leadership under fire. He was personally responsible for killing several enemy combatants during the clearance, ensuring the momentum of the assault was maintained, and undoubtedly preventing further members of his section from becoming casualties. His performance and his actions were of the highest order and were in the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.
Submitted 18 June 2015
Awarded the Victoria Cross (VC Citation)
For the most conspicuous acts of valour, extreme devotion to duty and ultimate self-sacrifice at Ghawchak village, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, as a Commando Team Commander in Special Operations Task Group on Operation SLIPPER.
On 22 June 2013, a commando platoon of the Special Operations Task Group, with partners from the Afghan National Security Forces, conducted a helicopter assault into Ghawchak village, Uruzgan province, in order to attack an insurgent network deep within enemy-held territory. Shortly after insertion, Corporal Baird’s team was engaged by small arms fire from several enemy positions. Corporal Baird quickly seized the initiative, leading his team to neutralise the positions, killing six enemy combatants and enabling the assault to continue.
Soon afterwards, an adjacent Special Operations Task Group team came under heavy enemy fire, resulting in its commander being seriously wounded. Without hesitation, Corporal Baird led his team to provide support. En route, he and his team were engaged by rifle and machine gun fire from prepared enemy positions. With complete disregard for his own safety, Corporal Baird charged towards the enemy positions, supported by his team. On nearing the positions, he and his team were engaged by additional enemy on their flank. Instinctively, Corporal Baird neutralised the new threat with grenades and rifle fire, enabling his team to close with the prepared position. With the prepared position now isolated, Corporal Baird manoeuvred and was engaged by enemy machine gun fire, the bullets striking the ground around him. Displaying great valour, he drew the fire, moved to cover, and suppressed the enemy machine gun position. This action enabled his team to close on the entrance to the prepared position, thus regaining the initiative.
On three separate occasions Corporal Baird charged an enemy-held building within the prepared compound. On the first occasion he charged the door to the building, followed by another team member. Despite being totally exposed and immediately engaged by enemy fire, Corporal Baird pushed forward while firing into the building. Now in the closest proximity to the enemy, he was forced to withdraw when his rifle ceased to function. On rectifying his rifle stoppage, and reallocating remaining ammunition within his team, Corporal Baird again advanced towards the door of the building, once more under heavy fire. He engaged the enemy through the door but was unable to suppress the position and took cover to reload. For a third time, Corporal Baird selflessly drew enemy fire away from his team and assaulted the doorway. Enemy fire was seen to strike the ground and compound walls around Corporal Baird, before visibility was obscured by dust and smoke. In this third attempt, the enemy was neutralised and the advantage was regained, but Corporal Baird was killed in the effort.
Corporal Baird’s acts of valour and self-sacrifice regained the initiative and preserved the lives of his team members. His actions were of the highest order and in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force
Submitted 18 June 2015
Honour, Courage, Mateship ANZAC Spirit
23 Nov 2007 23rd of November has just passed. For some it’s just another day. Unfortunately for others it is not. I was there on the ground that day when one of our finest, Luke Worsley from 4 RAR Commando, was knocked. We were out in the middle of the Afghanistan Dasht and a long way from Australia.
This story from within the SF community needs to be told to the Australian public but most of all the parents, wives, sons daughters and family. What the boys from Bravo Company 4 RAR (now 2 Commando Regiment), Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) rotation V (Roman numeral for 5), did for one of their own over an 18 hour plus period is something I will never forget. His mates did everything they could for him and then some. We harboured up the vehicles, created the Vehicle Drop off Point (VDO) and the decision was made to move in on foot.
Harbouring the vehicles was no easy feat as there were Land Rover SRVs, 4 and 6 wheel All-terrain Vehicles, Bushmasters and the Mother Ship. The Mother Ship was an up armoured 4 x 4 Mercedes Unimog that looks like something out of Mad Max. It had a pintle mounted 50cal HMG mounted on top and a 7.62 Mag58 LMG mounted for the passenger. The boys took off around dusk and started the stomp of about 3km (3.5hrs) over the mountainous terrain to the objective. Overwatch was established over the village, and the boys went in. All seemed to be going well until the call of TIC (Troops in Contact) came over the radio. Echoes of rifle and intense machine gun fire could be heard across the the valley.
Then we heard the words that no one wants to hear. Just after midnight on the 22nd and going in to the early morning of 23rd November, I can remember hearing over the radio that we had a man down. All of us who were listening to the contact over the radio couldn't believe it, we were waiting to hear who it was. The callsign of the soldier was sent over the radio and eventually we worked out it was Luke.
We were in our harbour securing the vehicles, a few of us started to prepare to roll in and give them a hand. We could still hear the heavy fighting going on. Thankfully the boss made the call not to send us forward as we found out later on that the vehicle route in to the village had been mined with IEDs. The boys had been on target for about 8 plus hours and dawn was not that far away.So the call was made to move out and that they would have to stretcher carry Luke back to the VDO some 3km away.
This paragraph I’m trying to give you some idea of the mind set and some of the the set backs the boys faced and overcame. We also had Close Air Support, more commonly known as CAS. The boom and the shock wave from the explosion was massive. It broke the silence and even lit up our valley. When the CAS was called in we were in the VDO 3km away and we thought the boom and the shock wave from the explosion was massive. The main group were still in the vicinity of the village, they were only 700m to 900m away when the missile hit the target.
Choppers were called in to come and pick up Luke. The Chinook, along with Gunship support, had to come from TK Airfield and were provided by the Dutch. They were requested to pick Luke from the village and take them back to TK Airfield for processing. As it turned out, we were told the chopper was on its way from TK. Then the call came over the radio informing us it was being diverted to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Anaconda for another task. We were then told it was not coming directly to us from FOB Anaconda but now diverted to Kandahar. Once again we were then informed that the chopper did not have enough fuel to come to us from Kandahar, so it returned to TK airfield then finally on to our location.
Back to the story: I can remember standing there listening to the Company who were coming back, calling in and updating their position. Once we knew they were about 20 to 30 minutes out from the VDO, I told every spare body to go around to the vehicles, dig out the gas bottles and stove and boil some water. This was so they would have hot water for a brew when they returned. Then I saw the first of two things that day that I wish every Australian could have seen. I can remember looking up and seeing the first member of the Company coming over the hill, then another and another. Then the rest who were carrying Luke on the stretcher. Every man wanted to carry Luke. They had been at it for over 12 hours by now, they were all tired and they were hurt, but in true Grunt fashion they were not bloody beaten and at no time would they give up. At that very moment I was thinking, how proud I was to be there. I just witnessed something un-bloody believable.
Before Luke was to be taken off the battlefield by chopper, he was placed in one of the Bushmasters. Everyone from the Company had the opportunity to go in, pay their respects and say goodbye, which they all did. Me personally, I held his hand and said a prayer Psalm 23:4( Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ), I also told him that one day we will all be reunited in Valhalla and he would not be forgotten.
In addition to this there was a young Mortarman. He was one of the boys that had just been out all night. He helped carry and was good friends with Luke. Unfortunately he could not bring himself to go in to the Bushmaster and say good bye. I tried to convince him at the time that it was the right thing to do, however, he still could not bring himself to do it. I said to him that I completely understand. 30 minutes later at around 9 or 10ish we received the call that the evac chopper was inbound. Finally, we could hear the sound of the Chinook off in the distance. At this point I picked myself up and went over to where the Mortars were. As I approached him I said, mate this is the last chance you will get to say good bye. He was also religious man so I told him, this is the last chance to go in and say a prayer for him. To his credit we both walked to the Bushmaster together and I told him I would be right outside. He went in and farewelled his mate. Once we were back in Camp Russell, he came up to me and thanked me for what I had done.
So we loaded Luke on to the Chinook and made sure everything was good to go. This is where I saw the second thing that The Australian Public should know about. I was facing the Chinook with the Company spread out behind me in the defensive position. The position was spread out over approximately 500m on a slight hill that was running up from where we were. The CSM pointed behind me and said “hey DAZZ have a look at that.” I turned around and this is what I saw. I looked up and I could see the whole company, all standing to attention. They were next to their cars, some were standing by themselves, some were standing on Bushmasters, this was truly an amazing site. These boys were paying their respect to a mate that they would never see again but would live on in their memories.
On our return to Camp Russell we had a service and we were allowed a few beers. We were all in the building which is normally used as a recreation room and one of the blokes whose name I cannot recall played the Dire Straits song, Brothers In Arms. Every one stopped what they were doing and there was complete silence. Everyone banded together and paid their respect to Luke in their own way. Once the Dire Straits song was finished a young man grabbed his guitar and went up the front of the recreation room. He was a strapping young lad who was already a legend within Bravo Company and 4RAR (2 Commando Regiment).
Now you have to remember that this is in November of 2007. This man and his guitar started to play a song, a song that, funny enough, still haunts me today. The song was “I hope you had the time of your life”, by Greenday. It was a pretty good rendition of the song that would give any musician a run for their money. A few months after the events of the 22nd - 23rd this man with his guitar was awarded the Medal For Gallantry for his actions on that fateful night. A few years after that in 2013 this man went on to become a legend. He went on to become forever immortal. The man with the guitar was Cameron Baird VC MG and is the 100th recipient of the Victoria Cross. A man truly worthy of this honour. The same spirit that the ANZACs took with them to the shores of Gallipoli are still alive and well today. Up until now this story of the boys was just a personal memory that now will be hopefully told to the Australian Public, but most of all the parents of these brave young lads.
Submitted 11 June 2015 by Darren Peters
Personal details of Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird VC MG
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 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 for Australia,
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.