A Perth Sapper killed during an insider attack in Afghanistan last month was remembered today for his intelligence and infectious personality at a moving funeral service attended by family, friends and dignitaries yesterday.
Sapper James Martin, from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, was killed in an insider attack at patrol base Wahab in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan province on August 29.
He was one of three Australians shot dead in the same attack and was on his first operational deployment as part of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment Task Group when he was killed.
At Karrakatta Cemetery today the 21-year-old was honoured with a full military funeral service attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and West Australian Premier Colin Barnett.
Commanding Officer of the 2nd Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Foura delivered a touching eulogy reflecting on Sapper Martin’s commitment to the army and determination to succeed in his chosen role as a combat engineer.
Lt Col Foura said Sapper Martin was well suited to his role "from day one".
“His intelligence and ability to rapidly acquire new skills, his willingness to participate and contribute to the team and his infectious personality made him the perfect fit into army as a soldier and in particular, as a combat engineer,” Lt Col Foura said.
Lt Col Foura also read out a letter Sapper Martin wrote to his family during his basic training: ‘I want to wake up every morning and be proud of what I do and who I am. I want to…fight for the civil liberties that most Australian take for granted. I want to be an Australian soldier
Sapper Martin was a talented guitarist and loved to read books, play cricket and watch AFL.
He is survived by his mother Suzanne Thomas, brother Angus, sister Holly and grandparents Ralph and Lucille Thomas.