Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal has recommended that Australian Defence Force personnel who served in Somalia in the 1990s should be recognised for their extraordinary work in very challenging conditions.
FILE PHOTO: Private AJ Shinner, 1RAR, stands guard over a food-distribution point near Baidoa, Somalia. Photo by Corporal Gary Ramage – 21 January 1993.
The government has accepted the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal recommendations for unit recognition for Australian Defence Force service in Somalia, agreeing with the tribunal that Meritorious Unit Citations be awarded for the following ADF units who served in Somalia between 1992 and 1995.
- The four UNISOM Australian Service Contingents – ASC I, ASC II, ASC III and ASC IV
- 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment Group, and
- HMAS Tobruk.
In this 30th anniversary year of ADF operations in Somalia, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Matt Keogh said it was fitting individuals receive the recognition they have long advocated for.
“I have accepted the tribunal’s recommendations and have informed the Governor-General,” Minister Keogh said.
“The Meritorious Unit Citation will recognise the service, contribution and sacrifice made by those ADF members who were deployed in Somalia and I express my deepest gratitude to all those who served.
“Service in Somalia represented the ADF’s largest land and sea operation since Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
“I thank the tribunal for their work and those who advocated for this unit recognition.
“As we approach ANZAC Day, I encourage all Australians to acknowledge and pay tribute to all our service personnel who have engaged in conflict, peacekeeping or humanitarian operations, they each embody the spirit of the ANZAC.”
Unfortunately, however, the Meritorious Unit Citation for Somalia will not be authorised or issued in time for ANZAC Day “In this 30th anniversary year of ADF operations in Somalia”.
Minister Keogh said the government would make an announcement later this year on how current and former ADF members can receive their insignia of the Meritorious Unit Citation.
A copy of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal report can be found here.