Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey was on his sixth tour to Afghanistan when he was found dead in Kabul.
The Australian soldier who died in Afghanistan from a “non-combat related incident” has been identified as Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey.
Lance Corporal Chidgey was on his sixth tour of Afghanistan when he was found dead in the Australian headquarters at the main coalition base in Kabul earlier this week.
Defence has refused to go into the details surrounding the 29-year-old’s death while an investigation is pending.
He has been described as a “consummate professional” who earned the respect of his comrades through dedication and hard work.
“Lance Corporal Chidgey’s colleagues in the 2nd Commando Regiment have described him as a brilliant bloke to know and work with, who was loyal to the core and would do anything for his mates,” Defence said in a statement.
The decorated soldier was born in Gosford, NSW and joined the Australian Defence Force in 2006.
He was posted to what is now the 2nd Commando Regiment, serving in Afghanistan on tours ranging from two weeks to six months.
At the time of his death, Lance Corporal Chidgey was part of the protective security detachment providing protection for a senior Australian officer.
He is the 41st Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Chidgey’s colleagues found him in an administration building with a gunshot wound around 2pm Afghanistan time on Tuesday.
He was taken to the nearby medical facility for emergency medical treatment but later died surrounded by his comrades.
An investigation is underway into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Australia has now ended involvement in combat operations in Afghanistan but about 400 personnel remain in a variety of jobs, including headquarters staff and Afghan National Army mentors.
Lance Corporal Chidgey is survived by his mother, father, brothers and partner.
Defence Minister David Johnston said Lance Corporal Chidgey was a fantastic commando.
“He was a great soldier and he is an enormous loss to the nation,” the minister told reporters in Adelaide on Thursday.
“I’m terribly sad for the loss of another Australian soldier. This makes 41 in Afghanistan.
“I have spoken to his mother and brother today.
“This is always the downside of dealing with good people – they put their lives at risk for us, they’re on the front line and every now and then something like this happens.”
Senator Johnston said he believed there were sufficient safeguards to protect the remaining soldiers in Afghanistan.
“The facts of what has happened here are not clear yet,” he said.
“We’re still conducting inquiries so I have no reason to think there is any systemic issues there.
“The safety of our people is absolutely at the forefront of my mind.
“This is the issue we grapple with every day of our lives to make sure our people have the survivability and safety around them that we must give them.”
The defence department would do all it could to support the Lance Corporal Chidgey’s family.