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‘We enjoy a freedom that is unique… it has been paid for in the blood of our ancestors’

Ben Roberts-Smith is one of only four men to be awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia, an accolade recognising efforts of extreme devotion to duty.

Joining the military when he was 18-years-old, Ben’s family already had a long history with the army. Four of his four descendants landed at Gallipoli, two of which went on to fight on the Western Front.

“Every male in my family has served in some capacity, except for my young brother, who’s actually an opera singer.”

In June 2010, Ben was tasked with a mission to capture or kill a senior Taliban commander.

He shares the harrowing experience with Alan Jones.

“As we came in to land (via Black Hawk helicopters), effectively the valley erupted in 360-degree machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenade fire.

“We were severely outnumbered.

“You can’t hear anything when you land because of the nose of the engine. You can’t see anything because of the dust swirling around, but you can feel the energy of the bullets coming past you.”

In an important message, Ben tells Alan Australia is the “luckiest country on earth”.

“We need to remember that this country is one of the, if not the luckiest county on earth.

“We enjoy a freedom that is unique, and that freedom is not free, it has been paid for in the blood of our ancestors.”

Listen to the full interview

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