Tributes flowing for slain soldier
TRIBUTES have flown for Lance Corporal Andrew Gordon Jones, the RAAF Base Amberley-based soldier killed by a rogue Afghan officer on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old was from the 9th Force Support Battalion in Amberley and was serving with the Force Support Unit in his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Jones leaves behind his loving parents, two younger siblings and girlfriend, who are receiving support from Defence.
In a statement, his family and girlfriend paid tribute to Lance Corporal Jones, who was described as a “dependable yet cheeky character” who we will be sorely missed.
“Andrew enjoyed his role in the Army and was an excellent soldier. We are sure his mates will also miss him, his professionalism, but most of all his sense of humour,” the statement said.
“His mates within his unit loved him, not only for his great cooking, but for the great soldier and man he was.
"We believe Andrew was very, very happy, serving with his friends doing the job he loved.
“We would like to especially thank those that helped Andrew in his last hours.
"We know you did your best to save him and continue to face the big job ahead of you while also dealing with his death.”
Lance Corporal Jones was born in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1986. He joined the Army in 2004.
After recruit training, he completed his initial employment training as a cook and was posted to the Catering Platoon of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.
He was posted to the 9th Force Support Battalion in 2008.
Lance Corporal Jones’ first operational deployment was to East Timor in 2008. His second, to Afghanistan, commenced in November 2010.
An ADF statement said Lance Corporal Jones was a “loyal, reliable and trustworthy soldier” who was dedicated to serving his country.
“He was a skilled cook who was the first to volunteer to go on the road or on exercise,” it said.
In 2010, he was promoted to Lance Corporal upon completing his Junior Leader Course.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith yesterday said Lance Corporal Jones was shot four times as he walked down stairs at a patrol base in Afghanistan on Monday.
He said an Afghan soldier was alone in a watch tower as one his comrades was making his way to the area.
At the same time Lance Corporal Andrew Gordon Jones was walking down stairs.
“He shot our soldier on four separate occasions and then fled,” Mr Smith said of the Afghan soldier left in the tower.
“We don’t know whether there’s been a dispute or disagreement between the two or what the motivation is.”
Mr Smith said the soldier had been training with Australian forces for “a number of months at least” and that no progress had been made in efforts to capture the suspect.