‘He left us too soon’: Queensland soldier found dead on base
A YOUNG soldier who died by suicide at Lavarack Barracks, has been farewelled in a service surrounded by his comrades in Townsville.
Just two years into his Australian Army career, PTE Braiden Russell was found deceased in his room on base.
The news of his passing has sent shockwaves of devastation through the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment where he served.
PTE Russell recently returned to Townsville after deploying as part of OP COVID Assist in September.
Nicknamed "Big Russ" by his peers, PTE Russell was honoured in a touching social media post by his peers.
" From all reports Big Russ was an absolute legend," the touching message read.
"A great soldier and just as important, a great friend.
"PTE Braiden Russell, you will always apart (sic) of the "Old Faithful" brotherhood and family."
The message went on to remind soldiers that there is support available for anyone who may be suffering in silence.
"Just remember, it's OK not to be OK," the message said.
"Call a friend, see if they're OK.
"Be there for each other, it ain't weak to speak."
A touching photo board has been hung at the unit to honour PTE Russell, with photos of him during service proudly on display.
The 3rd Brigade Commander Brigadier Kahlil Fegan also paid tribute to the young soldier gone too soon in a heartfelt post online.
"This week, our soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, supported by the 8th/9th Battalion, farewelled their friend and comrade, PTE Braiden Russell," Brig Fegan's message read.
"He left us too soon.
"May he rest in peace."
The Defence Department spokeswoman said a military funeral was held for PTE Russell on Wednesday.
"Defence extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the member and is offering all available support to ensure they are assisted during this difficult time," she said.
"As the investigation into the cause of death is ongoing and the coroner has yet to release their findings, Defence will not comment on the cause of death."
If you, or someone you know is struggling help is available at www.openarms.gov.au or by calling 1800 011 046 or phoning Defence All-hours support line on 1800 628 036.
Originally published as 'He left us too soon': Townsville soldier found dead on base