On 29 August 2012 Private Robert Poate, Lance Corporal Rick Milosevic and Sapper James Martin were killed during an insider, or green on blue, attack in Afghanistan. Their killer was supposed to be their ally but was a Taliban sleeper in the ranks of the Afghan National Army. Information provided to the families by rank-and-file soldiers after the event shocked them. When the heavily redacted internal investigation report was received the grieving families knew that it excluded a plethora of incriminating facts.
This powerful book is the result of a father's quest to find out all the facts associated with the death of his son. It was a search that revealed a labyrinth of excuses, denials, half-truths, cover-ups, contrived secrecy, incompetence, negligence, orders not followed, and lessons not learnt from the previous twelve years of war in Afghanistan. The determination of Hugh Poate and the other two families to uncover the truth would lead to a civilian Coronial Inquest into combat deaths, the first in the 120-year history of the Australian Army. The Coroner found five systemic deficiencies which contributed to the soldier's deaths.
Hugh Poate felt a duty to publish the full story for the benefit of the Australian public which relies on its Defence Force for national security in the hope that Defence, particularly the army, will learn lessons from its failures and improve its standard of leadership. Apart from burying his son, Hugh found writing this book was the most depressing thing he has ever done.
Compelling and enraging, this story of the true facts surrounding the devastating loss of three soldiers continues to reverberate beyond their families to the highest levels of defence and government.
'A heartrending account of the experiences of three families devastated first by avoidable tragedy, then by inexplicable interference in their search of answers, accountability and closure. Hugh Poate has ensured that the deaths of three Australian war heroes will not have been in vain. A must read for any young Australian contemplating military service.' â€” Joel Fitzgibbon