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Australian soldier receives top military honor

Wednesday - 2/12/2014, 9:20pm  ET

SYDNEY (AP) -- An Australian special forces soldier who died under heavy fire in Afghanistan will be awarded the British Commonwealth's highest military honor.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced Thursday that Cpl. Cameron Baird will be granted a posthumous Victoria Cross, which rewards bravery under enemy fire.

Baird was on his fifth tour of duty in Afghanistan last year when he was killed during a clash with insurgents. Abbott says he repeatedly drew fire away from his comrades and charged the enemy under heavy fire. He was the 40th Australian soldier killed in the Afghanistan conflict.

Abbott says Baird was awarded the Victoria Cross "for most conspicuous acts of valor, extreme devotion to duty and ultimate self-sacrifice."

Governor-General Quentin Bryce will present the honor to Baird's parents at a ceremony next week.

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