I know today is a difficult day for one of our readers and contributors former SAS operator John Anon who was very close to Didds.
10 years ago today, Australia lost a genuine hero - Sergeant Blaine Diddams. To support his patrol and ensure mission success, he knowingly exposed himself to draw fire and lead assaults on insurgent positions.
Sergeant Diddams displayed inspirational leadership and selfless courage in extremely hazardous circumstances.
This was the last day of duty for a number of men in Australia’s Special Air Services Regiment (SAS).
But before heading home someone had tasked them with one more mission. A group of Diggers and Navy Seals were under fire from Taliban insurgents so the SAS had been called in to assist.
Among them were Victoria Cross hero Mark Donaldson and 40-year-old patrol commander Sergeant Blaine Diddams who was on his seventh Afghanistan tour.
As the SAS flew into the war zone, machine-gun fire peppered their helicopters.
Within minutes of hitting the ground and splitting into small groups, Diddams’ voice crackled across the radio: “Devil’s down.”
Donaldson’s heart shrunk.
Devil had been his dog and best mate, a military-trained K9 who had saved his life and many others during previous forays into Taliban territory.
He jumped on the radio: “Say again?”
Diddams’ reply was as bleak as before: “Devil’s down. Dog’s down.”
Donaldson was shattered, but he had little time to grieve.
Gunfire and grenades were ratcheting all around him.
Then the radio sparked to life again: “Didds is hit, he’s down”.
Donaldson felt a physical ache. “What?!” He grimaced in anger and angst but fought on and the SAS soon overpowered their enemy who had been shooting at Diddams and his team from less than 10 metres away.
The priority was to try and save Diddams.
He was flown back to Tarin Kowt suffering a wounded heart.
The bullet had passed through his clavicle and hit his aorta.
Eventually, there was nothing they could do and he passed away surrounded by his brothers-in-arms.
Despite a virtually fatal wound, the SAS legend had been kept alive longer than expected.
That length of time — from when he was shot until a much-loved Blaine Diddams passed away — had been about 60 minutes.
He was aged 40 years
His leadership and selfless acts of gallantry which ultimately cost his life on 2 July 2012 were of the highest order and in keeping with the finest traditions of Australian Special Operations Forces. The Australian Army and the Australian Defence Forces, granted his Medal for Gallantry on 10th June 2013
We now remember Sergeant Blaine Diddams,, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
His sacrifice will never be forgotten.
‘Lest We Forget’.
Thoughts with his family who will forever share his ultimate sacrifice.