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Unit Citations Awarded to New Zealand Military Units - The Australian Meritorious Unit Citation

Obverse View

The Australian Meritorious Unit Citation obverse view

About the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation

The Australian Meritorious Unit Citation is awarded to a unit, for sustained outstanding service in warlike operations. The Honour comprises an award of a Certificate of Citation to the unit signed by the Australian Governor-General and insignia of the Citation worn by members of the unit.

The Meritorious Unit Citation was approved for introduction into the Australian Honours System on 15 January 1991. To date there have been 24 Meritorious Unit Citations presented, including two awards to New Zealand Defence Force personnel.

Awards to New Zealand Defence Force personnel

1) 3 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force. For service in East Timor between 20 September 1999 and 30 November 2002 as part of the Australian led International Force East Timor (INTERFET) and with successive Australian and New Zealand battalions.

In 2002, the New Zealand Government approved the wearing of the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation by members of 3 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force.

2) The Force Communications Unit, Cambodia 1992-1993. For 30 days service in Cambodia between 15 March 1992 and 7 October 1993. Awarded in 2014 to the Australian Defence Force personnel and offered by the Australian Government to the New Zealand Defence Force personnel who served in Cambodia in the Force Communications Unit.

In 2015, the New Zealand Government approved the wearing of the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation by eligible New Zealand Defence Force personnel who served in Cambodia in the Force Communications Unit.

The Force Communications Unit deployed to Cambodia in 1992 as Australia’s main contribution to the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). The Force Communications Unit comprised members of both the Australian Defence Force and New Zealand Defence Force and provided communications between UNTAC, the Cambodian Supreme National Council and the military headquarters of the four political factions

As elections in Cambodia moved closer, the Force Communications Unit was called on to provide additional logistic support to the election process, often in hostile conditions. This was whilst they maintained the communications network at 50 locations across Cambodia.

The role of the Force Communications Unit, and the conditions under which they operated, expanded well beyond what was expected or required of the Unit at the time of their deployment. It is this commitment and dedication to the United Nations mission in Cambodia that has resulted in the Australian Government decision to award a Meritorious Unit Citation to the Force Communications Unit.

Sixty-five New Zealand Defence Force personnel are known to have served as part of the Force Communications Unit in Cambodia. A small number are still serving, but the majority of entitled recipients have left the military.

Presentation ceremony on 5 August 2015 for New Zealand recipients who served in Cambodia

A presentation ceremony for New Zealand recipients was held in Linton Military Camp on 5 August 2015.

Those who were not able to attend the presentation can have their award mailed to them.

All eligible persons should contact Warrant Officer Class One Dale Wetere, Regimental Sergeant Major Land Operations Training Centre, Palmerston North. Telephone: 06 352 8522, mobile 021 419 057, email dale.wetere@nzdf.mil.nz

Insignia Design

The insignia of the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation is a ribbon bar sized badge, which is worn on the right breast. The badge consists of a rhodium plated sterling silver rectangular frame 32 millimetres wide and 15 millimetres deep surrounding a ribbon bar of old gold 28 millimetres wide and 10 millimetres deep with a design of flames emanating from the frames outer edge to the centre.

The insignia miniature is a two-thirds size replica of the insignia of the Citation surrounding a miniature ribbon bar 18 millimetres wide.

1) 3 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force. Personnel who were posted or attached to 3 Squadron during the period for which the citation was awarded (20 September 1999 to 30 November 2002), wear a rhodium plated sterling silver Federation Star 7 millimetres in diameter in the centre of the badge. Personnel subsequently posted to 3 Squadron wear the badge without the silver star and only while they are serving with the unit.

2) The Force Communications Unit, Cambodia. NZDF personnel who were posted to the Force Communications Unit in Cambodia for at least 30 days during the period 15 March 1992 to 7 October 1993 wear a rhodium plated sterling silver Federation Star 7 millimetres in diameter in the centre of the badge.

Because the Force Communications Unit ceased to exist on completion of the mission there is no current NZDF unit which is permitted to wear the badge without the silver star.

Award Regulations

The New Zealand Chief of Defence Force Directive concerning the award of the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation to 3 Squadron, RNZAF for service in East Timor.

The Regulations and Determination for Australian Unit Citations (1991).

There is no New Zealand Defence Force directive for the award of the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation to the Force Communications Unit deployed to Cambodia. This is because there is no current New Zealand Defence Force unit which will wear the award in relation to the service in Cambodia. For more information on the award please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.

Order of Wear

The Australian Meritorious Unit Citation is not included in the Order of Wear. This is because the insignia is worn on the right breast rather than the left breast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Australian Meritorious Unit Citation for Cambodia Frequently Asked Questions (added on 28 May 2015)

Media statement about the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation

28 May 2015 - Australian recognition for kiwi service in Cambodia 1992-1993