Cpl Daniel Keighran receives Victoria Cross for Australia

Added by on November 1, 2012

Daniel Keighran stands with Keith Payne who received the VC in 1969 and Mark Donaldson a VC recipient in 2009

Corporal Daniel Keighran became the third Australian on Friday to receive the Victoria Cross for Australia – the nation’s highest military honor.

“It was just utter surprise – I had no idea it was coming,” said Keighran, recalling when he received a letter from Government Hous approved by Queen Elizabeth II.

Keighran was a member of the 6 RAR Delta Company in August 2010 when the group of 20 Australians and 20 Afghan National Army troops were overpowered by as many as 100 insurgents in the Tangi Valley in Deh Rahwod, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan. The company at the time was tasked with a fighting patrol to find and inflict damage on insurgent forces known to be in the area.

During the battle Keighran “with complete disregard for his own safety, broke cover on multiple occasions to draw intense and accurate enemy fire to identify enemy locations and direct return fire from Australian and Afghan fire support elements”, said the citation. Keighran, in a later part of the battle, is cited with moving from a postiion of cover to deliberately draw fire away from a team that was treating a casualty that was sustained earlier in the battle.

Keighran is the third soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia which supersedes the Victoria Cross, the last of which as issued to Warrant Officer Keith Payne 24 May 1969 during the Vietnam War.

Keighran said he had not told his wife about the battle at the time – he added that he told his wife about it when he found out about the award.

“I don’t like to talk about myself very often so this is unusual,” said Keighran.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said while Corporal Keighran is modest, it is important to record the ‘”history of our nation and what makes our nation”.

Keighran joined the army in 2000.