Wal­ter twice hon­oured for bat­tle­field acts

Western Times - - NEWS -

THE Nurs­ing Ser­vice Cross, the high­est hon­our for an Aus­tralian com­bat medic, had never been awarded to the same per­son twice un­til Sergeant Jonathan Wal­ter.

Wal­ter joined the Aus­tralian De­fence Force in 2000 at the age of 17, jok­ing he was not old enough to sign up, so his mother “re­ceived that hon­our and signed my life away”.

He re­ceived his first NSC just three years later in 2003 af­ter sav­ing the life of a young boy who had fallen off a cliff in East Ti­mor and in­jured his head.

The sec­ond time Wal­ter was awarded the hon­our, for­mally known as re­ceiv­ing a Bar to the NSC, was for his ef­forts treat­ing dozens of ca­su­al­ties af­ter a sui­cide bomber det­o­nated an ex­plo­sive vest out­side an Afghan po­lice sta­tion.

Wal­ter served al­most 11 years in the mil­i­tary in­clud­ing three de­ploy­ments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Com­mando Reg­i­ment and Spe­cial Air Ser­vice Reg­i­ment.

He was the medic on the ground when Sig­naller Sean McCarthy lost his life when the ve­hi­cle he was in drove over a 20kg ex­plo­sive.

Wal­ter said the loss of his fel­low sol­dier sunk in when he re­turned to base a few days later for McCarthy’s ramp cer­e­mony.

“It was a tan­gi­ble feel­ing in the air that’s for sure. A grim re­minder of what Afghanistan can bring,” he said.

Wal­ter de­signed the Voodoo Medics patch in 2008 and was in­stru­men­tal in form­ing the Voodoo Medics group which is about com­bin­ing “un­con­ven­tional medicine and un­con­ven­tional war­fare”.

“Now wear­ing the voodoo doll comes with a lot of pres­tige, hon­our and pride,” he said. “There’s a huge de­mand on voodoo medics by the na­ture of their role, a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity and cer­tain stan­dard that they have to meet so it’s a hard role to get into, and hard role to keep.”

Wal­ter dis­charged from the mil­i­tary in 2010 and has since em­barked on a ca­reer with the Tas­ma­nian De­part­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices.

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