3788618 Private Keith Ronald DOWNWARD
Military Medal (MM)
Private Keith Downward enlisted in the Australian Military Forces on 20 April, 1966. He joined 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment on 14 November 1966 and arrived in South Vietnam with the Battalion in April 1967.
On 6 August 1967 the 2nd Platoon of A Company came under heavy fire from a concealed enemy position. Private Downward was the forward scout leading the platoon into the position when he came under eneny fire directed at him. Private Downward continued to advance towards the enemy using fire and movement to get forward. Several times the fire was so intense he was forced to lie face downwards on the gorund while bulletts flew within inches of his head. Finally he worked himself into a position 10 metres from an enemy machine gun post that was causing casualties to our troops. Disregarding his own safety he leapt to his feet charged the post and killed the enemy machine gunner and captured the gun. Immediately he engaged other enemy and by hand signals directed the fire of his section into the enemy position.
Shortly afterwards Private Downward was wounded by a hand grenade which exploded by his side. Disregarding the wound he continued to engage individual enemy with fire. Eventually it became necessary to order him to make his way rearward for medical evacuation. This he reluctantly did dragging and carrying a wounded comrade with him.
Private Downwards courage, coolness under fire and consideration for the wounded, together with total disregard for his own safety displayed a standard of bravery that is an inspiration to others and is in the best traditions of the Service.