I was wrong. Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG has no immediate plans to leave the army.
Ben Roberts Smith VC MG, you've earned the right to the career of your choice and I hope that whatever you do brings you and your family tremendous happiness and a long and safe life together.
I read reports this morning that you'd decided to march out of the regiment for a business career outside the army. Turns out those reports were wrong and I apologise to you and your family for getting my facts wrong.
Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG released a statement this afternoon.
On Monday, 11 February 2013, News Limited publications published an article claiming that I am leaving the Australian Army to pursue a business career. Regrettably, the article was inaccurate and I feel it needs to be corrected.
I have not resigned from the Special Air Service Regiment and remain a member of the Australian Army who is proud to continue serving with the SASR.
Over the course of 18 years in the Army, I have accumulated a substantial amount of leave and plan to take some of that leave this year. Contrary to News Limited reports, my plan to take leave is not linked to my operational tempo and is, rather, a case of wishing to spend some time with my family and needing to clear some leave.
I will not discuss the period of leave I intend to take or my plans during this time, as I consider these personal matters. Like any Army member, I remain a serving member whilst on leave.
I find it disappointing and unfortunate to have to share details of my personal circumstances, however I feel it is important I do so in order to correct the inaccuracies in these reports and to reaffirm my commitment to the SASR, the Army and the Australian Defence Force.
Like any member of the ADF, there will come a time for me to move on. However, if and when that time comes, I will remain connected to the SASR, the Army and the ADF and will not quit or walk away as News Limited reporting has suggested.
While I accept the public responsibilities of holding the Victoria Cross for Australia, I strongly believe that some aspects of my personal and family life remain private and I thank those members of the Australian media and public who have respected these wishes.
Please note: Corporal Roberts-Smith is unavailable for interview due to work commitments and will not be making any further comment on this matter.