The trio will be remembered for their loyal leadership and kind nature. Their dedication to the Army, and their passion for life.
The Australian Defence Force announced yesterday afternoon that 40-year-old Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic, 23-year-old Private Robert Poate and 21-year-old Sapper James Thomas Martin were the soldiers killed during a shocking "green on blue'' attack in Oruzgan Province on Wednesday night.
The soldiers were shot dead and another two wounded when an Afghan soldier turned his gun on them and then escaped.
The horrific incident was quickly followed by the death of two fellow diggers in a helicopter crash early Thursday in Helmand Province, signalling one of Australia's darkest combat days in decades.
The father-of-two was described as a highly-qualified soldier with a strong future, who was much-liked and respected by his comrades.
"His leadership and professional abilities stood out in the unit, on the rugby field and on operations. He was also a devoted family man. He will be sorely missed by his family and comrades,'' the ADF said.
The 40-year-old, from the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment, Queensland Mounted Infantry based in Brisbane, is survived by his wife and two kids.
It was Private Robert Poate's first deployment. The 23-year-old is survived by his parents Hugh and Janny , and sister Nicola in his home town of Canberra.
The ADF said Private Poate had a reputation for "creating mischief without getting caught'' and was known as bit of "larrikin''. He was "proud of his family, his military service and his red hair, which he vehemently defended as "strawberry blond''.
Private Poate was a member of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment Task Group and was from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment based in Brisbane.
"He often played his bass guitar for his mates. He was also an avid follower of Aussie Rules,'' the ADF said.
As the nation continued to mourn the loss of the five Australian soldiers, a spokesman for the Department of Defence said yesterday that preparations were underway to have all the bodies returned home. The date for their return has not yet been confirmed.
The fallen troops will first be ceremonially sent off from Afghanistan before returning to Australia for a formal military "ramp ceremony''. Their families will then decide whether to hold a private funeral or one in which senior officials, such as Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, could attend.
The tragic week has reignited the debate about Australia's role in the war on Afghanistan, and when to bring our troops home. However, Ms Gillard, who has been accused by independent MP Andrew Wilkie of having "blood on her hands'', has said her resolve to keep our troops in the wartorn nation was unwavering.
Yesterday she received support for her stance from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"Secretary Clinton called to offer her personal condolences for Australia's terrible losses in Afghanistan,'' a spokeswoman for Ms Gillard said in a statement released yesterday.
"The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the vital importance of ISAF (international forces) and the Afghan government taking the strongest possible measures to reduce the risk of insider attacks on coalition forces.''
A search involving intelligence agents, troops and unmanned drones is continuing for the suspect in the shootings of the three diggers - Afghan National Army Sergeant Matullah.
The two soldiers killed when a US Blackhawk helicopter crashed in Helmand Province were Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald, 30, of Carnarvon, Western Australia, and Private Nathanael Galagher, 23, of Wee Waa.