When Doug Baird set foot in Kapooka army base yesterday, a string of memories came flooding back.
Mr Baird attended his son Cameron Baird’s march out parade at the base 16 years ago.
He then returned to present two young soldiers with the inaugural Cameron Baird VC MG award for Most Outstanding Soldier, an honour named after the late soldier.
“I was extremely proud, there was immense support for this happening in Cameron’s name,” Mr Baird said.
Mr Baird said honoring his son had led to him learning more about him in the years since his passing than he did during his final years.
“It’s only once I started talking to people he worked with that I got an understanding of what kind of soldier he was.”
“He couldn’t talk about it with us because he was a special forces soldier.”
“We’ve been told he was recognised as an icon by his peers, but we never even knew that.”
A Commando team leader, Corporal Baird died aged 32 during an assault on insurgents during which he repeatedly drew fire away from his team members.
He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest award in the Australian honours system – in February, 2014.