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Australian Medals for Somalia

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Here is yet another interesting article:

Sailors aboard the navy transport ships HMAS Jervis Bay and HMAS Tobruk who supported operations in Somalia during the 1990s will be eligible to wear the Australian Active Service Medal.

But the government gave the thumbs down to creating a special Somalia campaign medal and won't be awarding the 1st Battalion (1RAR) a meritorious unit citation.

Defence said the government had accepted the recommendations of the independent Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal inquiry into recognising the Australian Defence Force service in Somalia between 1992 and 1996.

Advertisement: Story continues belowIn that period, Australia deployed a 1000-member battlegroup based on 1RAR for three months plus smaller contingents supporting the United Nations mission. They were supported by ships and aircraft.

In all, some 1600 Australian personnel served in Somalia for varying periods.

The deployment of 1RAR was the first major deployment of Australian combat troops since Vietnam. One soldier was killed accidentally and three were wounded in firefights with bandits.

Former personnel argued they hadn't been sufficiently recognised and the 1RAR deserved a meritorious unit citation (MUC) for its outstanding performance in a hazardous and arduous environment.

The tribunal disagreed.

"While the service of 1RAR in Somalia was commendable, it was not sustained, outstanding service in warlike operations of the kind required to justify the award of an MUC," it said.

Similarly, the tribunal rejected striking a specific Somalia campaign medal.

However, those who served in Somalia are eligible for either the Australian Service Medal (ASM) or Australian Active Service Medal (AASM), both with Somalia clasp.

The tribunal found the crews of Tobruk and Jervis Bay should be eligible for the AASM instead of just the ASM.

That's because the port of Mogadishu required a high level of security to protect against bandit and militia activity.

But it said the Tobruk and Jervis Bay crews should not be recommended for the UN medal on grounds that they weren't assigned to the UN and did not meet the 90-day eligibility criteria.

Read the complete article here:



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