Defence has finalised inquiries into the combat deaths of
two Australian commandos. Sergeant Brett Wood and Sergeant
Todd Langley were killed on operations in Afghanistan last
SERGEANT BRETT WOOD
Sergeant Brett Wood, MG, DSM, was a member of a Special
Operations Task Group force element conducting clearance
operations in southern Afghanistan on 23 May 2011.
He was killed and two of his fellow commandos were wounded
when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), laid by
Sergeant Wood was a distinguished and highly experienced
soldier. He deployed to Afghanistan on three occasions and
was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for leadership in
action as a Team Commander. Sergeant Wood was also
posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for
distinguished leadership in action and the United States
Meritorious Service Medal.
The Inquiry Officer appointed to examine the circumstances
surrounding Sergeant Wood's death noted that the initial
treatment the patrol medics provided to Sergeant Wood was
exceptional, especially considering they were also wounded
in the explosion.
In his report, the Inquiry Officer made a number of
recommendations relating to doctrine and procedure which
Defence is taking action to implement. Details of the
report's recommendations may compromise operational
security or the Privacy Act and cannot be publicly
The Inquiry Officer also recommended that a Commission of
Inquiry into Sergeant Wood's death was not warranted.
The Minister for Defence weighed the wishes of the Wood
family and any public interest in the release of the Report
and decided not to publicly release the report into
Sergeant Wood's death.
SERGEANT TODD LANGLEY
Sergeant Todd Langley was an Australian commando who was
serving with the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) when
he was struck by small-arms fire during an engagement with
insurgents in southern Afghanistan on 4 July 2011.
Sergeant Langley was killed instantly while coordinating
support for a fellow soldier who was wounded.
Sergeant Langley was an exceptionally experienced soldier
on his fifth deployment to Afghanistan. He had also
undertaken two deployments to East Timor.
The Inquiry Officer appointed to inquire into the
circumstances surrounding the death of Sergeant Langley
commended members of the SOTG for their actions during
highly stressful circumstances involving the death of a
member of their team and another serious casualty.
The Inquiry Officer made only one recommendation which was
that a Commission of Inquiry into his death was not
The Minister weighed the wishes of the Langley family and
any public interest in the release of the Report and
decided not to publicly release the report into Sergeant
Defence asks that media respect the Wood and Langley
families' request for privacy.
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999