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   Army Museum of New South Wales
    Army Museum of NSW - Medals of the Month

Medals of the Month - May 2021

Medals awarded to Ernest Barrington ("Ossie") Ostara DCM
L-R: Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal 1939-45, Australia Service Medal 1939-45, Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 - clasp Vietnam, United Nations Korea Medal, Vietnam Medal, Australian Service Medal 1945-75 - clasp Korea, Defence Force Service Medal, National Medal, Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, United States Bronze Star, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Vietnam Armed Forces Honour Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - clasp 1960.

1923. Born at Goulburn NSW on 11th July.

1941. Marries Edna May Smith.

1942. Enlisted at Paddington NSW for in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) with service number NX98974 on 2nd December. Is posted to the 2/6th Australian Independent Company, later the 2/6th Australian Cavalry (Commando) Regiment then the 2/6th Australian Commando Squadron with which he served until discharged from the AIF on 28th March 1946.

Notable engagements for the unit were the Kokoda Track in Papua between July and November 1942, Buna-Gona in Papua between November 1942 and January 1943, the Markham Valley, Ramu Valley and Finisterre Range campaigns in New Guinea between September 1943 and April 1944 and in Borneo between May and August 1945.

1947. Enlisted in the Australian Regular Army (ARA) with service number 21406 in September.

1954. A member of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) in South Korea as part of the United Nations forces stationed in the country after the armistice with North Korea. 1 RAR was involved in training and border patrolling and remained in South Korea until March 1956.

1957. Posted as an ARA Warrant Officer instructor of Cadet Corps members at Waverley College, Waverley NSW.

1963. Awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military) in February. At the time, he was a Warrant Officer Class 2.

1964. First tour on war service in South Vietnam with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) commences on 7th November. The tour concludes on 12th July 1966.

1965. Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). At the time, he was a Warrant Officer Class 1.

The Canberra Times newspaper reported on 28th July 1965:

Warrant Officer Ostara's DCM is the first medal in this category to be awarded to an Australian in Vietnam.

His citation said that "on January 7th this year, while training Vietnamese troops, he shot down a Vietcong (Viet Cong) commander and an orderly when a group of insurgents attacked.

His group intercepted a Vietcong company cleared by Australian and Vietnamese troops from a nearby village.

The advancing Vietcong, on meeting this group, threw grenades which caused panic among the Vietnamese troops under training.

Quickly assessing the seriousness of the situation, and to protect the troops under his care, Warrant Officer Ostara attacked the Vietcong force single-handed.

His actions inspired the Vietnamese troops to which he was attached. They undertook successful operations on succeeding days."

A detailed account of the actions for which Warrant Officer Ostara was awarded the DCM was published in The London Gazette on 23rd July 1965 which can be read online HERE.

1967. Second tour on war service with the AATTV commences on 28th July. The tour concludes on 23rd July 1970.

1976-1978. Treasurer of North Bondi RSL sub-Branch.

1978. Retires from the Australian Regular Army.

1980-1983. Secretary of North Bondi RSL sub-Branch.

1999. Wife Edna May passes away on 31st July, aged 77 years.

2006. Passes away on 29th September, aged 83 years.

Lest We Forget

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