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The Australian Meritorious Unit Citation - For The Force Communications Unit, Cambodia, 1992-1993

Frequently Asked Questions - The award of the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation to New Zealand Defence Force personnel who served in the Force Communications Unit in Cambodia 1992-1993

Background

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.

What is 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 one to 3 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force for service in East Timor between 1999 and 2002 as part of the Australian led International Force East Timor (INTERFET) and with successive Australian and New Zealand battalions.

Has the Honour been extended to the members of the New Zealand Defence Force who were part of Force Communications Unit – Cambodia?

Yes. The New Zealand Prime Minister has approved the acceptance and wear of the citation by New Zealand members of the Force Communication Unit who served in Cambodia.

Who will be the custodian of the Meritorious Unit Citation as the Force Communications Unit – Cambodia is not an existing military unit?

The Force Communications Unit – Cambodia included members from the Australian Defence Force and the New Zealand Defence Force. The original Citation will be held by the Australian Defence Force School of Signals in Victoria.

A copy of the Meritorious Unit Citation will be placed in the Headquarters of the 1st New Zealand Signals Regiment as the successor unit to the Royal New Zealand Signals units who provided the personnel for this deployment.

When will the presentation ceremony be held?

A presentation ceremony for New Zealand recipients will be held in Linton Camp in early August 2015. Full details will be advised by the 1st New Zealand Signals Regiment.

As the 1st New Zealand Signals Regiment will be the custodian of the Citation, they will organise and host the presentation ceremony in consultation with the Regimental Colonel, Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals, and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association.

Note: The Australian members of the Force Communications Unit received their Insignia in September 2014.

What are the eligibility criteria to receive the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia?

To be eligible to receive the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia a person must have served in Cambodia for at least 30 days during the period 15 March 1992 to 7 October 1993 while posted to the Force Communications Unit.

1st New Zealand Signals Regiment has compiled a nominal roll of NZDF personnel who have been deemed eligible for the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia. Only those personnel listed (or any later additions that may be approved) may wear the citation.

How many persons have been identified on the nominal roll as being eligible to receive the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia?

The nominal roll contains 65 names from the New Zealand Defence Force. A small number are still serving, but the majority of entitled recipients have left the military.

How do I apply for the Australian Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia?

Please 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

It is expected that most former Force Communications Unit personnel would like to be attend the presentation ceremony in Linton Camp in August 2014.

Personnel are encouraged to attend with their families.

Eligible personnel who are not presented the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia at the investiture ceremony need to advise their contact and delivery details to Warrant Officer Class One Dale Wetere (his contact details are as above) and the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia will be issued to them by 1st New Zealand Signals Regiment.

I believe my deceased husband is eligible for the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia? How do I apply to receive his insignia?

Please complete NZDF Medals Office Form 2 – Application for the Posthumous Issue of Medals, located on the Application Forms page of the NZDF Medals website, and mail the signed form to the postal address.

Can I be presented at Linton Camp in early August 2015 with the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia for my deceased husband?

Yes, you can be. For more information, please 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

Will the Meritorious Unit Citation Insignia without the Federation Star be issued to members of Units that provided personnel to Force Communications Unit – Cambodia?

When a Meritorious Unit Citation is authorised by the Australian Governor-General the insignia with Federation Star is awarded to the original members of the unit.

The Force Communications Unit – Cambodia was raised with members from across the Australian Defence Force and New Zealand Defence Force to support a contribution to the United Nations Transitional Authority to Cambodia. On completion of the mission, this particular unit ceased to exist. As the Force Communications Unit no longer exists only insignia with the Federation Star will be issued.

Other Royal New Zealand Signals personnel who did not serve in Cambodia with the Force Communications Unit may not wear this insignia.

 This page was last reviewed 28 May, 2015 and is current.

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