BY JULIAN LEESER

I recently spoke in Parliament about the end of Australia’s operations in Afghanistan and paid tribute to Trooper Jason Brown from our community who made the supreme sacrifice.

“Browny” was five when he decided he wanted to be a soldier. His dad Graham was a Vietnam veteran. Service runs in the family. James’ sister Stephanie is an officer in the NSW Police Force.

Jason went to Oakhill College. He played 14 seasons for the Penno Stags Rugby League Club where he played centre and wing.

He was a South Sydney Rabbitohs fan. He loved a cold Coopers Pale Ale on a hot day and his mum remembered that he was always smiling like the sun.

Jason always wanted to be a soldier and signed up to the army straight after school. He did three tours of East Timor in 2001 2003 and 2006.

After his second tour to East Timor, he decided he wanted to join Special Forces.

In 2007 Jason passed the gruelling SAS selection course. Jason was trained to fight on land, water and air and three years later was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper.

On 13 August 2010, Jason was part of a five-man patrol that had been involved in a “disruption operation” in northern Kandahar province.

At 6.30pm, as the Australians made towards a crossing point, the patrol came under heavy fire from a concealed weapon.

Despite wearing a helmet and body armour, and the immediate assistance from his brave mates, Jason became the 18th Australian to make the supreme sacrifice in Afghanistan.

Two of his mates were subsequently decorated for gallantry: one received a Commendation for Distinguished Service the other received the Star of Gallantry, Australia’s second-highest award.

I honour the service of our forces and thank them for defending our values and being prepared to serve and put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom.