From: Defence Media Centre
Sent: Sunday, 20 February 2011 8:55 PM

Media Release: Australian Soldier killed in Afghanistan

An Australian Army combat engineer serving with Mentoring Task Force – Two (MTF-2), Sapper Jamie Larcombe, was killed in action during an engagement with insurgents in the Mirabad Valley region of Uruzgan Province overnight (Australia time).

An Afghan local national employed as an interpreter was also killed in the exchange of fire.

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said Sapper Larcombe was 21 years old and from the Darwin-based 1st Combat Engineer Regiment.

“Sapper Larcombe had just passed the third anniversary of his enlistment into the Army, which was on the 18th of February. In that time, Jamie had served on Operation Padang Assist and this was his first tour to Afghanistan,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.

Sapper Larcombe is survived by his parents, three younger sisters and his partner. They are a very close family, and can be very proud of Jamie.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said the soldiers were patrolling in area to the South East of Patrol Base Wali when they were engaged by an insurgent group.

“Unfortunately both our soldier and his interpreter comrade were struck by gunshots in that engagement and despite immediate first aid were unable to be saved,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.

“A coalition helicopter was launched to evacuate the two men but on arrival at the Multinational Base – Tarin Kot medical facility they were declared deceased.

“Our thoughts are with Sapper Larcombe’s family and friends.

“This is also another tragic day for the ADF, for the Army, our personnel in Afghanistan and especially, our sapper community.”

Defence is now focused on supporting Sapper Larcombe’s family.

Defence will not release further personal details at this time.

Twenty-three soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the ADF commenced Operation SLIPPER.

Four Australian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan this year, with 168 ADF personnel wounded in action since 2002.

Media contact: Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664