THE body of the Australian special services soldier killed in action in Afghanistan this week has been repatriated.
Sergeant Blaine Diddams became the 33rd Australian soldier killed in the 11-year conflict when he was shot in the chest on Monday during an operation targeting an insurgent commander in the Chorah Valley.
Members of the Special Operations Task Group farewelled Sgt Diddams in a moving memorial service at Camp Russell, Tarin Kot.
SOTG commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel J, said Sgt Diddams was a well-respected and highly experienced soldier who "endeared himself to everyone who knew him".
"Today, we farewelled a husband and father, a mate and brother who will be forever missed but never forgotten," Lt Cl J said.
"He died doing what he loved in the only way he knew how - to lead his men from the front. Blaine was the relaxed professional whose quick wit and sense of humour could turn a smile in even the worst of situations."
Sgt Diddams's body was returned to Australia in a C-130 Hercules aircraft.