UNITED NATIONS TRANSITION ASSISTANCE GROUP (UNTAG)

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Australia: 18 Feb 1989 to 10 Apr 1990.

Strength: 613 total comprising two rotations. Contingents consisted of Royal Australian Engineers from 17 Construction Squadron, one RAAF officer, 5 Military Police, and a 3 person Royal Australian Signals Detachment.

Area of Operations (AO): Namibia.

Purpose: In April 1989, the UN established UNTAG in Namibia, South Western Africa, and to a limited extent in neighbouring countries. This was to supervise the return of refugees, the holding of a general election, the withdrawal of South African forces and Namibia's transition to independence. The Australians were armed only with personal weapons during the entire mission.

Comments: The Australian Contingent mainly consisted of Army Engineers. From 26 October to 20 November 1989, the Australian Electoral Commission provided an electoral organisation expert and 27 electoral supervisors. The Australian Federal Police contributed a fingerprint expert in order to assist in the conduct of the general election which was held in early November, 1989.

The Australians were vital to the success of the mission as the Australian engineer and British signals advance parties were the only troops on the ground when the ceasefire collapsed in early April 1989. They were hurriedly redeployed to bolster a renegotiated ceasefire by supervising the withdrawal of SWAPO guerillas from Namibia. The Second contingent's engineering and local security activities were also instrumental in the successful return of thousands of refugees and the conduct of the general election.

Contingent members were originally awarded the Australian Service Medal however this descision was reversed and, on 26 July 2001 the award was upgraded to the Australian Active Service Medal.

Veteran Entitlement Act (VEA) : Schedule 2; 18 Feb 1989 to 10 Apr 1990.

Service Type: Warlike.

Gazette: S303 of 26 Jul 01

Awards & Qualifying Periods:
AASM 1988

AASM with Clasp
'NAMIBIA'
UNTAG Medal

UNTAG Medal