Military Honours Sgt Ward
5RAR Honours and Awards



australian infantryman's combat badge

  Sgt William Ward
Sergeant William Tasman Ward MM.

Citation accompanying the award of the Military Medal to
Sgt. Ward.

Sergeant William Ward enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 25th September, 1967. In December, 1967 he was posted to the 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. He arrived in South Vietnam in February, 1969 as a Section Commander of the Assault Pioneer Platoon, Support Company.
In May, 1969, elements of A Company were pinned down in heavy contact against a well armed enemy battalion headquarters position entrenched in bunkers and caves. A rifle platoon commander and several soldiers had been wounded in front of the enemy position and despite repeated attempts, the officer could not be extracted.
Sergeant Ward was helicoptered into the contact area with a flame thrower and came under immediate enemy fire. After several unsuccessful attempts to get into a fire position behind the enemy, Sergeant Ward with a non commissioned officer and a small element from A Company reached a position within twenty yards of the enemy position. All this time, over a period of several hours, the enemy had been delivering heavy fire against all efforts to outflank his position. Because of the terrain, the flame thrower could not be employed from a prone position. Sergeant Ward without hesitation and at the risk of almost certain death, deliberately fully exposed himself to engage. the enemy. His movements brought immediate and heavy enemy fire against himself. Any fragment penetrating the flame fuel containers meant death or wounding to Sergeant Ward and the non commissioned officer with him. On his first attempt to use the flame thrower, the weapon misfired. Sergeant Ward, still in his exposed position calmly remedied the fault and then delivered effective flame into the enemy strongpoint, enabling the rescue of the wounded officer.
This was the first known usage of the flame thrower under close combat conditions by Australian troops in this theatre.
This outstanding display of personal courage by Sergeant Ward has served as an inspiration to all members of his battalion throughout 1969. It reflects great credit on himself and The Royal Australian Regiment.