FOUNDERS: JOHN JARRETT & PETER WALTERS

Private Grant Kirby

2010 killed in Afghanistan

DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Statement from the family of Private Grant Kirby

The following statement has been released at the request of the family of Private Grant Kirby who, with Private Tomas Dale, was tragically killed in action when an Improvised Explosive Device was detonated while they were on patrol in Afghanistan.

Grant was part of a close and loving family, father Gary and mum Dianne, brothers Shaun and Luke, sister Lauren, and former wife Edwina and their two daughters Isabella (10) and Madeleine (8).

"While Grant and I were no longer married, he was very much a part of our family," said Edwina, "he was a dedicated father and my very close friend."

"Grant was always there for our girls and was totally involved in their sports and school events when he was not deployed."

Edwina said Grant was an incredibly honourable person who had an immense amount of pride in his job serving the country.

Grant's father Gary said that his son had always been keen to be in the Army.

"In fact after suffering shin splints in his first attempt to join, he stuck with it and successfully tried again."

"He was very passionate about health and fitness and kept himself in very good shape," Gary said.

"Grant was one of the boys," said his sister Lauren, "and being older was often called 'Dad' by the boys in his unit.

"He was a role model at times and often a mentor to them."

Gary said the family was incredibly proud of Grant and it will take time to come to terms with his loss.

DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Two Australian Soldiers Killed in Action by Improvised Device

Two Australian soldiers serving with the 1st Mentoring Task Force in Afghanistan have been killed in action when they were struck by an improvised explosive device (IED).

Private Tomas Dale, 21 and Private Grant Kirby, 35, were killed in action when they were struck by an IED. Both of their families have been notified and they have agreed to the release of names.

Two other Australian soldiers were wounded in action in the explosion. Their wounds are not life threatening and the soldiers have contacted their families.

All of the soldiers involved in the incident are from the Brisbane based 6th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment.

The Acting Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General David Hurley said the incident occurred during a joint counter IED operation with soldiers form the Afghan National Army.

Lieutenant General Hurley said the soldiers were moving to an observation position in the Baluchi Valley to cover the operation when, at approximately 10.30 yesterday morning (Afghanistan time, Friday, 20 August), they struck an IED.

The two soldiers had dismounted from their Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle when they were struck by the explosive device. It is not known what triggered the device.

The wounded soldiers received immediate first aid at the scene and were aero-medically evacuated to the ISAF medical hospital at Tarin Kot.

The two deceased soldiers were also transferred to the military hospital.

Lieutenant General Hurley said this was the second incident in a week involving the deaths of Australian soldiers.

“The death of Privates Dale and Kirby so soon after the recent death of Trooper Jason Brown is a tragic reminder of the dangerous and courageous work Australian Defence personnel undertake every day.

“Twenty Australian soldiers have died in Afghanistan, yet despite their loss, their comrades remain very committed to our mission and to honouring the sacrifice of their fallen mates.”

The Acting Chief of the Defence Force also extended the deepest sympathies of Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and the Defence community to the families of the two soldiers.

“Each and every incident like this is felt very deeply throughout the Defence family and particularly the Army. Privates Dale and Kirby, and their comrades who have also died in Afghanistan, have served their nation proudly,” Lieutenant General Hurley said.

The soldiers' families have asked for privacy at this time.

20 Australian soldiers have been killed in action since operations in Afghanistan began with 147 soldiers wounded as a result of combat.

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