The Kalgoorlie underground miner whose bravery under fire as a soldier in Afghanistan two years ago earned him the Victoria Cross says the “training took over” when he embarked on his brave deeds.
Corporal Daniel Keighran, who works as a truck driver at the Frog’s Leg gold mine 20km west of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, was bestowed Australia’s highest military honour by Governor-General Quentin Bryce at Government House in Canberra yesterday.
The 29-year-old is the third Australian soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross for service in Afghanistan, joining Ben Roberts-Smith and Mark Donaldson from the Perth-based Special Air Service Regiment.
Two weeks ago, Cpl Keighran was met at Kalgoorlie Airport by Chief of Army David Morrison who informed him of the honour.
It was only then the now army reservist told his wife Kathryn what happened in Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province on August 24, 2010, when Cpl Keighran was a member of Mentoring Task Force 1 on Operation Slipper. A patrol, which was being conducted jointly with the Afghan National Army, was fired on by the enemy from multiple firing points.
Cpl 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 soldiers.