Sunday, June 10, 2018

WW2 West Point Fallen - Silver Star hero Joseph Ward, 4th Armored Division

Major Joseph Ward served in the 489th Anti-Aircraft Battalion in the European Theater for ten months.
Joseph H. Ward never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 10, 1918 in Alabama. His parents John and Jettie were also both born in Alabama. His father worked as a physician who died when Joseph was six years old. His widowed mother worked as a public school teacher. Joseph had three older sisters. By 1940 Joseph was a cadet at West Point. He graduated in 1941. Shortly thereafter he married Beatrice Marie Dunne. They had one son.

During the war he rose to the rank of major in the 489th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion. 

Major Ward's unit was attached to the 4th Armored Division and he took part in their full involvement beginning in Normandy in July 1944. It took part in Operation Cobra that finally broke the German defenses in Normandy, the race across France, Lorraine, the Saar River, and the Battle of the Bulge. After that it fought all the way from Luxembourg City, through Germany, ending up in Czechoslovakia.

While in service he was award the Bronze Star, the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Bronze Star, and the Silver Star.

From Major Ward's citation for the Silver Star for Valor:

The action of Major Ward was heroic and daring. His behavior under fire and his disregard for his own personal safety in his endeavor to serve his country reflects the finest traditions of the service... 

The action referred to in the foregoing citation was one in which Joe destroyed five enemy vehicles and insured the ultimate destruction of an entire column. 

Major Ward took part of the whole 4th AD campaign until April 5, 1945 when he was killed in action that earned him a Bronze star. 

From Major Ward's citation for the Bronze Star for Valor:

Such conspicuous courage by Major Ward, above and beyond the call of duty is meritorious. In this case Joe had braved small arms, machine gun, mortar and tank fire to rescue and bring to safety a wounded American soldier of a neighboring cavalry unit. Joe met his death in the manner to be expected of a soldier who earned such citations. In a forward, exposed area Joe was struck and instantly killed by enemy artillery fire.

His grave is at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, Netherlands.

Thank you Jospeh for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Joseph.

Last year on this date I profiled submariner Benie Polidori, USS Shark. You can read about Bennie here.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

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WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

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“Where Every Day is Memorial Day”

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