Australian soldier Daniel Keighran says the actions that ensured him the nation's highest military honour were not so much brave but 'very stupid'.
Days after putting his life on the line during a gunfight in Afghanistan in August 2010, the bushy bearded young Queenslander was interviewed by a reporter.
'Very stupid, yes - I wouldn't call it brave,' he told the Nine Network at the scene.
The battle against the Taliban at Derapet was among the most intense Australian forces fought in Afghanistan, lasting three hours.
Showing complete disregard for his own safety, Corporal Keighran repeatedly broke cover to draw intense enemy fire in order to identify enemy locations and direct return fire.
He also deliberately drew fire away from other members of his patrol in an action which caused the death of one of his mates, Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney.
'I said, Yeah mate, we are going to jump up, go for a bit of a run and try and draw some fire to see if you can see the guys down there, to see if you can get some rounds on,'' Cpl Keighran said.
Two years later in Canberra, Australia's 99th Victoria Cross was bestowed on the 29-year-old soldier.
'A man selfless in the face of threat, courageous in the face of terror, generous in the face of suffering and humble in the face of an honour bestowed,' said Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
'You have pushed the bounds of human compassion, endurance and gallantry to a place unknown to most and revered by all.'
Cpl Keighran was born in the Queensland town of Nambour. He is the first regular soldier to be awarded the VC for service in Afghanistan.
'I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the boys with me that day,' he told reporters after the ceremony.
Cpl Keighran is now a reservist who works in a mine in Kalgoorlie.
He said he only told his wife Kathryn about his actions two weeks ago, after finding out he was to be given the VC.
'She wasn't impressed to start with,' he said with a laugh.
Cpl Keighran, who enlisted in 2000, described himself as a private man and said he would never get used to all the praise.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard expressed a 'tremendous sense of pride' in Cpl Keighran's actions.
'We are so glad that your spectacular acts of bravery still saw you return home to us safe,' Ms Gillard said.
'But they were spectacular acts of bravery where in the moment you did not put your personal safety first but you put that Anzac tradition of mateship first.'
Cpl Keighran's medal, cast from the metal of guns captured during the Crimean War, arrived at Government House from London only at 9.15am on Thursday, just two hours ahead of his investiture.