United Nations Medals - The United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation Medal
About the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) Medal
During the winter of 1948 United Nations military observers were deployed to the Middle East under a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Arab-Israeli War. The following year, after the end of hostilities, the military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) were reorganised into a stand-alone force and given the task of monitoring the 1949 General Armistice Agreements reached between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The UNTSO Medal was instituted in 1951 to recognise the service of the military observers supervising this truce. Since then UNTSO has continued to be involved in peacekeeping and monitoring duties in the region, including observation of the cease-fire in the Suez Canal area and the Golan Heights following the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
The first New Zealand military personnel to serve with UNTSO were two Army Territorial Force officers who arrived in the Middle East in July 1954. There has been continuous New Zealand military personnel involvement with UNTSO since this time. In 1993 New Zealand sent Colonel John Fisher to take up the post of UNTSO Deputy Chief of Staff in Jerusalem, and he later became Chief of Staff of UNTSO for several months. In late 2004, Major General Clive Lilley, became Head of Mission for UNTSO for 12 months. From August 2015 to November 2017, Major General Dave Gawn served as Head of Mission / Chief of Staff for UNTSO.
The Sovereign has given approval for New Zealanders, who meet the eligibility criteria, to accept and wear the United Nations Medal for service with UNTSO.
About the ribbon
The ribbon comprises a United Nations blue background with a thin white stripe near each edge. These are the basic colours of the United Nations.
Further information on the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation Medal can be found on the United Nations website.
Clasps and Bars
Only a few clasps have ever been issued with United Nations medals. Very early in the history of the United Nations, it was decided to recognise service on different missions by the award of the United Nations Medal with distinctive ribbons. Additional periods of service on the same mission are recognised by silver numerals worn on the medal ribbon. The sole exception to this practice is the United Nations Special Service Medal which has the same ribbon with different clasps awarded for different service. A list of all United Nations missions since 1948 and their ribbons can be found on the Medals of the World website. Further details on each on these missions can be found on the United Nations website and on the Canadian Forces website.
Silver numerals worn on the UNTSO medal ribbon are awarded to denote additional periods of service with the same mission. The silver numerals are attached to the appropriate medal ribbon for the full-size medal, miniature medal and when ribbons alone are worn. (Note: Ribbons alone are usually only worn by serving uniformed personnel).
United Nations rules for the award of numerals
1) For service commencing on or after 1 September 1994: Continuous and accumulated service qualifies for numerals for the UNTSO Medal.
A person who qualifies for a United Nations Medal after 90 days service, qualifies for the Numeral 2 after 270 days service (continuous) or the 90th continuous day of their second deployment to UNTSO.
Note 1: The United Nations eligibility criteria require that ‘only periods at least 90 consecutive days can be counted towards the total qualifying period’ for a United Nations medal or a numeral.
Note 2: Numerals are never authorised for the United Nations Special Service Medal.
2) For all service before 1 September 1994: Only separate deployments (each of at least 90 continuous days) qualify for the award of a numeral.
An individual is required to serve “more than one tour of duty with a UN mission” to be eligible to wear a numeral. Eligibility for a numeral is not governed by the length of any one tour of duty (TOD) but the number of TODs in the same Peacekeeping Operation (PKO). Service personnel must be fully repatriated and then reassigned to the same mission at a subsequent date to be eligible for a numeral.
A person qualifies for the Numeral 2 on their 90th continuous day of their second deployment to the same UNTSO.
Note 1: Numerals are never authorised for the United Nations Special Service Medal.
Order of Wear
The position of this medal in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.
New Zealand Defence Force Officers who have held Senior Command Positions with UNTSO
- Major General Dave Gawn - Head of Mission / Chief of Staff, UNTSO, 2015-2017
- Major General Clive Lilley - Head of Mission, UNTSO, 2005-2006
Media Statement concerning service by New Zealand personnel with UNTSO
- 26 April 2013 - Defence Force Continues to Support Middle East Mission