2005 AFGHANISTAN

Meanwhile, in August 2005 an Australian Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper II, operating in the southern province of Uruzgan.

2005 AFGHANISTAN

Meanwhile, in August 2005 an Australian Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper II, operating in the southern province of Uruzgan. The SOTG, based on similar structure deployed during Operation Falconer, was made up of elements from the SASR, a commando platoon plus, and a troop from the Incident Response Regiment. Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the 5th Aviation Regiment were deployed to Afghanistan in March 2006 to support the SOTG. A forward operating base was subsequently established at Tarin Kowt. During this deployment the Commandos were involved in Operation Perth which resulted in the death of over 150 Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in nine days of fierce fighting in the Chora district of Uruzgan Province. During this period the task group was on patrol for 306 days and involved in 139 contacts and sustained 11 soldiers wounded.

A 300-strong Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) was subsequently deployed to support the Reconstruction Taskforce in April 2007, including a commando company group, elements of the SASR, and an integral combat service support team. In the latter part of 2008 the commando company conducted a disruption operation in Helmand province as part of Operation Eagle's Summit, which was a major coalition operation conducted in support of the transport and installation of an additional turbine for the Kajaki Dam hydroelectric facility. In March and April 2009, SOTG killed 80 Taliban fighters in a major four-week operation in Helmand Province, without suffering any casualties. Further operations undertaken include the Battle of Gizab in April 2010, and the Shah Wali Kot Offensive in June 2010, which resulted in heavy insurgent casualties. The bulk of SOTG was withdrawn from Afghanistan in late 2013 as part of a drawdown of Australian forces, although some special forces remained after this date as part of the small Australian force maintained in the country. The Regiment lost 12 personnel killed while deployed to Afghanistan, along with one killed during a pre-deployment exercise.

The Regiment served in 20 SOTG rotations in Afghanistan, with deployments ranging from about four to six, seven, and eight months. For its actions, the Regiment was collectively awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry and the Meritorious Unit Citation. On 26 March 2013, it was announced that Special Operations Command would receive the first battle honour awarded to an Australian Army unit for actions since the end of the Vietnam War for its performance during the Shah Wali Kot Offensive in Afghanistan from May to June 2010. The battle honour, titled "Eastern Shah Wali Kot", was awarded in recognition of the operational actions of the SASR and 2nd Commando Regiment from Australian Special Operations Task Group Rotation XII. A number of the regiment's personnel have also received individual decorations for their actions in Afghanistan. A posthumous Victoria Cross for Australia was awarded to Cameron Baird for actions in Uruzgan Province in June 2013. In addition, as of October 2010 six Distinguished Service Crosses, eleven Distinguished Service Medals, seven Medals for Gallantry and three Stars of Gallantry had been awarded to 2nd Commando Regiment personnel for service in Afghanistan.