||This is a commissioned
portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Rowan Tink, SAS in Afghanistan.
In July 2002 Tink was awarded a Bronze
Star by the US Government for his leadership role in eliminating al-Qa'ida
networks from their mountain eyries in southeast Afghanistan.
Tink, at 47, was commander of the
Australian Task Group at Bagram Air Base near Kabul. He was cited by
Washington for his leadership in the planning and execution of Operation
Operation Anaconda involved a
major drive by US-led coalition forces in March 2002 against al-Qa'ida,
in which Australian special forces soldiers played a vital co-ordinating
fortnight mountain offensive saw some of the fiercest fighting yet in
the war on terrorism. Colonel Tink's recommendation for the Bronze Star
read: 'The outstanding tactical contributions of Lieutenant Colonel Tink
and his task group served as a major factor in rendering the enemy a
crucial blow to his [sic] capability as an effective fighting force.'
The Bronze Star may be awarded for acts of heroism in combat operations
for meritorious service. Colonel Tink's medal citation praised his
'outstanding leadership, strategic and tactical proficiency, dedication
to duty and commitment to mission accomplishment under the most extreme
The Bronze Star was presented to
Colonel Tink by the US Commander of Coalition Taskforce Mountain, Major
General Frank Hagenback. 'You won't find a more professional group than
the Australians that have served here with us', he said. Acknowledging
the award at a ceremony at Bagram, Colonel Tink praised his 150-strong
contingent, which he led from January-July 2002.
'Australian special forces soldiers
have done the hard yards and borne the brunt of the task and I pay
absolute tribute to them', he said. A 1977 Duntroon graduate, Colonel
Tink, chief of staff at special operations headquarters in Sydney, has
previously served with the US Navy's elite SEAL unit. 'The Australian',