Victoria Cross: The Tribunal suggests the following draft citation
Private Norden enlisted in the Australian Army on 27 April 1966 and was discharged three years later, having completed his three-year period of service.10 Relevant to this application, he arrived in Vietnam on 5 December 1967, on posting to 1 Australian Reinforcement Unit. On 31 January 1968, he was posted to the 7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, and on 10 April 1968 was posted to the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR). He left Vietnam on 13 August 1968 after being wounded in action on 5 August 1968. For his service, Private Norden would be eligible for the following: a) Distinguished Conduct Medal; b) Unit Citation for Gallantry; c) Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasp ‘VIETNAM’; d) Vietnam Medal; e) Australian Defence Medal; and f) Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Upon discharge, Private Norden served with the Australian Capital Territory Police when, on 26 October 1972, he was involved in a traffic collision while on duty. Whilst there are conflicting dates (30 and 31 October 1972), Private Norden succumbed to his injuries. The Richard Norden DCM Club within the Duntroon Garrison is named in his honour.
Having concluded that Private Norden met the eligibility criteria for the Victoria Cross for Australia and that there is no countervailing reason to not award that honour, the Tribunal suggests that the following draft citation would be appropriate to accompany the conferral of that honour:
For most conspicuous acts of gallantry, for pre-eminent acts of valour and self-sacrifice, and for extreme devotion to duty in the ‘AO Surfers’ Area of Operations in the Bien Hoa province, Vietnam, on 14 May 1968 during the Battle of Fire Support Base Coral. Private Richard Norden enlisted in the Australian Army on 27 April 1966 and discharged three years later, having completed his three-year period of service. He arrived in Vietnam on 5 December 1967, on posting to 1 Australian Reinforcement Unit. On 31 January 1968, he was posted to the 7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, and on 10 April 1968 was posted to the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. He left Vietnam on 13 August 1968 after being wounded in action on 5 August 1968. On 14 May 1968 during Operation Toan Thang, 5th Platoon, B Company were ambushed and came under heavy fire from an estimated squad of 7-10 North Vietnamese Army regular soldiers in established positions dug into the ground or in trees, each armed with an automatic weapon. In the initial contact both the forward scout and the section commander were wounded some twenty to thirty metres in front of the remainder of the leading section, which was in turn isolated from the remainder of the platoon due to heavy and accurate enemy fire. Aware that the scout and section commander had been incapacitated and entirely of his own initiative Private Norden, a member of the leading section, asked for covering fire and ran forward to the wounded section commander across ground that provided him little or no effective cover under heavy enemy fire. He killed one NVA soldier whilst moving forward and, having expended his ammunition, recovered that enemy’s automatic weapon which he used against further NVA soldiers. He then half-carried, half-dragged the severely wounded section commander back to the section. Due to this initial action the life of the section commander was saved under intense enemy fire. Although himself relatively seriously wounded in his initial move forward, Private Norden again advanced to the forward scout. He was fired on by an enemy soldier but pressed forward and reached the scout, killing the NVA soldier who had been using the scout as a shield. Private Norden, having determined that the scout was dead, then returned to the section, collected grenades and, moving forward for a third time, cleared the area so that the body of the scout could be recovered. His three attacks into the enemy position on his own resulted in the enemy position being secured and likely saved the lives of other members of the platoon. Private Norden showed a complete disregard for his own personal safety, and by his courage, selfless acts and devotion to duty ensured the evacuation and saved the life of a severely wounded man, allowed the recovery of the body of the forward scout, and avoided the potential for further deaths of platoon members. Private Norden personally killed at least three NVA soldiers in this action.