Captain Charles William Ward, US Army, was born 11 September 1924 in rural Wyoming. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, but then at age 18 he enlisted in the Army and entered Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. As an Infantry 2nd Lieutenant, Ward was then assigned to Company H, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division training in Northern Ireland.
Lieutenant Ward led his platoon across Utah Beach to their initial combat positions east of St-Lo. At 0530 on 26 July 1944, Operation Cobra began the breakout from Normandy. The 5th Infantry Division, now attached to General Patton’s 3rd US Army, pushed the Germans back across France to the fortress city of Metz. During the period 12-13 November 1944, Ward, with his Mortar Section, Company E, and a Tank Platoon, defended the bridgehead at Sanry-Sur-Nied against six German counterattacks. The defenders killed, wounded, or captured 500 of the 750 German attackers and were awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.
On 22 December 1944, the 5th Infantry Division was moved 100 miles north to attack the southern flank of the German “bulge” thrust into the Ardennes. Ward would be involved in two winter battles.
For combat actions during the period 20 December 1944 through January 1945, Ward was awarded the Silver Star Medal by General George Patton. The citation states: “Ward, although wounded and without regard for his personal safety, led his seriously depleted company in the attack and capture of entrenched enemy positions…His leadership and bravery…allowed the 2nd Infantry…to aid in the 3rd Army relief of the surrounded American troops at Bastogne, Belgium.”
Ward’s other decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the French Croix de Guerre. He was discharged in 1945.
Ward graduated the University of Oklahoma with a degree in architecture. He received highest honors from OU, and recognition from the Governor’s Arts Council, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, and the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture.