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Transport & Logistics

Safety lessons from the front-line: Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG

11 Feb 2014, by Informa Insights

Ben Roberts-Smith
Ben Roberts-Smith

Decisiveness in protecting the safety of others has been a theme highlighted by many guest speakers at RISSB’s annual rail safety conference  over the past years.  This year, we’re greatly honoured to have Ben Roberts-Smith, the Commonwealth’s most decorated serving soldier of his generation and an inspiring personification of courage under fire provide the special guest talk.

Ben Roberts-Smith’s tenure with the SAS saw him deployed around the world in roles that covered the full spectrum of special operations. His impressive list of combat operations include two tours of East Timor including INTERFET in 1999, Fiji, Iraq and six tours of Afghanistan. Ben was on his second operational tour of Afghanistan in 2006 when he was awarded the Medal for Gallantry for his actions as and it was on June 11, 2010, on his fifth tour of Afghanistan, that he was involved in his Victoria Cross action.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for acts of bravery in wartime
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for acts of bravery in wartime

During these missions, Ben was forced to make split-second decisions that proved instrumental in accomplishing his task. The key to successful strategic thinking, he says, is to have superior situational awareness, patience, and preparedness. It’s also important to take away learnings from every experience and pass this knowledge onto the next generation.

“Our unit motto was Who Dares Wins,” Ben says. “If you attempt it and get it right then you have succeeded; if you get it wrong, then you will learn. But if you don’t attempt it at all, you have failed. That’s what Who Dares Wins is to me – you have to have a go, you can’t be afraid of failing.”

P14M04 - Rail Safety BannerAs a veteran of several previous tours, Ben took responsibility for mentoring and developing both his own patrol and the personnel of the wider Special Operations Task Group.  He readily offered advice on planning, equipment, and tactical techniques, contributing directly to individual and collective capability.  His efforts ensured the effective transfer of his professional knowledge and experience to a new generation of special forces soldiers.

Retiring from full-time Army duties in October 2013, Ben has fascinating insight into the processes and protocols that are critical in producing positive strategic outcomes in some of the world’s most dynamic environments. Using real life examples from the frontline, Ben will provide an insight into leadership, success and the safety of your team at Rail Safety 2014 on 27 March.

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