Even thou he was a grunt he was an awesome bloke, he was a soldiers soldier not a political beast like they are today. Sad day for the ARMY
SUBJ: PASSING OF THE FIRST RSM-A, WO1 WALLY THOMPSON, OAM
1. IT IS WITH GREAT SADNESS THAT ARMY MUST ADVISE OF THE DEATH OF
WO1 WALLY THOMPSON OAM, ARMY'S FIRST RSM-A. WALLY PASSED AWAY
PEACEFULLY AT BANKSTOWN HOSPITAL AT APPROXIMATELY 1300 H TODAY,
THURSDAY 19 APRIL 2012.
2. WALLY'S SERVICE HISTORY:
2A. 1950 - 54 - CITIZEN MILITARY FORCES AND CONSCRIPTED UNDER THE
NATIONAL SERVICE SCHEME.
2B. 1954 - ENLISTED IN THE ARA POSTED TO 2 RAR, SERVING WITH THE
BATTALION ON OPERATIONS IN MALAYA.
2C. 1961 - 63 - POSTED TO THE BRITISH ARMY JUNGLE WARFARE SCHOOL.
2D. 1963 - 64 - 1 RAR
2E. 1964 - 65 - AUSTRALIAN ARMY TRAINING TEAM - VIETNAM
2F. 1965 - 67 - SUR
2G. 1967 - HQ 10 TF (CSM HQ COY)
2H. 1968 - 1 RAR (CSM C COY). SECOND TOUR OF DUTY IN SOUTH VIETNAM.
FOUGHT IN THE BATTLE OF CORAL. WOUNDED AND RETURNED HOME.
2I. 1969 - 70 - INFANTRY CENTRE, CSM BATTLE WING.
2J. 1970 - 73 - 4 RAR (PROMOTED WO1) RSM. THIRD TOUR OF DUTY IN
2K. 1973 - 74 - JTC RSM.
2L. 1975 - 79 - RSM SCHOOL OF INFANTRY.
2M. 1979 - 81 - RSM TRAINING COMMAND.
2N. 1981 - 82 - HQ 1TF
2O. 1983 - APPOINTED FIRST RSM-A
2P. 1987 - RETIRED AFTER 37 YEARS SERVICE TO ARMY AND OUR NATION.
3. 'THE SUCCESS OF AN ARMY IN BATTLE RELIES UPON THE QUALITY OF ITS
SOLDIERS'. WALLY THOMPSON WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST OF THEM ALL.
4. THE THOUGHTS OF OVER 45000 SERVING SOLDIERS AND TENS OF THOUSANDS
OF FORMER SOLDIERS ARE WITH WALLY'S FAMILY.
5. REST IN PEACE.
During his first tour of duty in South Vietnam, Wally was awarded the South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star for action with 3rd/5th Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 1977, honoured Warrant Officer Class One Wally Thompson a Medal of the Order of Australia.
As the first Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, Wally was the most senior enlisted soldier in the Australian Army and the conduit for the soldiers’ voice to the Chief of Army.
Warrant Officer Dave Ashley, the current Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army knew Wally for over 30 years and said that the passing of Wally marks a sad day for the Australian Army and its soldiers.
“Wally Thompson was the first Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army. For me, personally, he is a role model. A role model for all Australian soldiers and someone that I look up to in the work I do on a daily basis. His legacy is profound.
“When I took the appointment of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, I took time to reflect on the RSM-A’s before me, and Wally Thompson was truly a soldier’s soldier. He was a man who led our Army with enthusiasm and values inherent in our Army.
“I have known and worked alongside Wally for over 30 years. He taught me many valuable lessons.
“My thoughts, and the thoughts of those across the Army, are with Wally’s family at this difficult time.” Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, Dave Ashley said.
Wally was a soldier’s soldier and this can be seen through the naming to the Soldiers’ Club at Kapooka and the Solider Promotion Centre at Lavarack Barracks being after such an inspirational leader.
Even in retirement, Wally remained engaged with an Army that he grew fond of. Confirming that the Army truly is a family, Wally attended dedication services and graduation dinners among other special occasions.
Indicative of Wally’s unwavering connection to the Army and its soldiers, is a quote attributed to him at the opening of the Soldier Promotion Centre at Lavarack Barracks in 2005.
“I had most of a day going around and talking to the soldiers at Lavarack, and I know I can say one thing, ‘we’re in safe hands.’ They are very fine young men and women who are a credit to the Army and to Australia.”
The success of an Army in battle relies upon the quality of its soldiers. Wally Thompson was one of the greatest of them all and his memory will be proudly carried on by the soldiers of our Army.
The thoughts of over 45,000 serving soldiers and tens of thousands of former soldiers are with Wally’s family.
Rest in peace.