Fallen Queensland soldier remembered decade after IED blast
PRIVATE Benjamin Ranaudo became the 11th soldier named on Australia's Honour Roll when he was killed in Afghanistan in 2009 and his sacrifice will be at the forefront of his mates' minds as they pause to honour him and reflect today.
Operation Slipper in Afghanistan claimed the lives of 41 people and 261 were wounded and it resulted in the first Australian deaths during combat since the Vietnam War.
Pte Ranaudo, 22 was killed on July 18, 2009 while deployed with the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, which is Townsville-based, when an improvised explosive device was detonated during an operation in the Taliban stronghold of Baluchi Valley.
Former Private Paul Warren lost his leg in the same blast. This Remembrance Day marks the 10th anniversary of Pte Ranaudo's death and it's a day Mr Warren will never forget.
"We were covering guys in front and it was really calm, locals were near us so that's usually a sign because they know where these things are buried and then it changed very quickly," Mr Warren said.
"I remember getting launched up into the air and the ringing in my ears was outrageous, it was like being smacked in the face - just the force of this thing and a million thoughts going through your head but I remember through that process asking where Benny was but no one would answer so I think I knew then what happened.
"I remember waking up and first thing just looking around the room hoping to see him banged up in a bed. It was probably the worst day I had of my life."
Mr Warren said he had spent the past decade healing his mental and physical wounds caused by the tragedy and said writing his biography helped with guilt and grief over the death of his mate.
"Your mind just doesn't stop ticking over about the people that are gone and fortunate I am to be here so I'll never get too upset or feel sorry for myself about losing my leg," Mr Warren said.
"The best thing I got off Benny's mum was her saying 'now I think I understand what happened that day', that's the most important feedback I could get."