Australia's Chief of Army was left "sickened" by a report into alleged war crimes committed by special forces soldiers in Afghanistan.
The landmark investigation uncovered credible evidence 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners were unlawfully killed by Australian troops and two others were subjected to cruelty.
Paul Brereton, who led the four-year inquiry, found young soldiers were forced to kill Afghan soldiers in a practice known as "blooding" to achieve their first kill.
"I was shocked by the extent of the alleged unlawful acts that were described in the report," Lieutenant General Rick Burr told Nine Network.
"That is absolutely not what I expect of anyone in our army, anywhere in our army at any time, and why I'm so determined to lead our army through this into a better place."
A SAS squadron embroiled in the allegations is being disbanded, while 19 current and former soldiers face possible criminal prosecution.
All special forces soldiers who served in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013 could also lose their meritorious unit citations.
Darren Chester, the minister for veterans' affairs and defence personnel, agrees with the recommendation.
"I think it's a tough call but I think in the circumstances it is a fair call," he told ABC radio on Monday.
"I think it's a difficult decision, a difficult recommendation, but I think it's one we probably have to follow through with."
However, Mr Chester is concerned for the vast majority of veterans who served with great distinction in Afghanistan.
"They have no reason to have their work in uniform either defined or diminished in any way because of these allegations that have come forward," he said.
"The last thing they need right now is our judgement, they need our support."
The inquiry has also raised questions about how Australia's elite soldiers should be represented at the war memorial in Canberra.
Mr Chester does not believe exhibits relating to the SAS should be removed from public view, but says the Brereton review's findings should be recognised at the memorial.
"I think it's inevitable that it will be, we will have to tell the full story," he said.
"The war memorial is a place of truth telling, it tells the story of Australian service and courage and sacrifice, and unfortunately it tells the ugly side of battles as well, and the ugly side of war."
Mr Chester also defended Australian War Memorial chairman Kerry Stokes' financial support for SAS members facing war crime prosecutions.
"The people you are talking about have not even been charged with anything so they're entitled to their legal rights and to be given the opportunity to defend themselves," he said.
"If Mr Stokes wants to support someone in defending their legal rights, I don't think that's an issue for me or the government.
"I think it's a fair step for him to be taking, particularly given his long and very involved interest in a whole range of veterans' matters for an extended period of time."
Australian Associated Press