UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG): 1989-1990


Australia: 18 Feb 1989 – 10 Apr 1990 (2 Rotations)

 Strength: 613, mostly Royal Australian Engineers from 17 Construction Squadron, with one RAAF officer, 5 man Military Police Detachment, 3 man Signals Detachment and 14 New Zealand Personnel.

 AO:         Namibia, South West Africa.

                 In April 1989, the UN established UNTAG in Namibia,  South Western Africa, and to limited extent in neighbouring countries in order to supervise the return of refugees, the holding of a general election, the withdrawal of South African forces and Namibia's transition to independence.  The Australians were armed with personal weapons during the entire mission.

                The Australian Contingent mainly consisted of Army Engineers.  From 26 October to 20 November 1989, the Australian Electoral Commission provided an electoral organisation expert and 27 electoral supervisors - the Australian Federal Police contributed a fingerprint expert - in order to assist in the conduct of the general election in early November.

                 The Australians were vital to the success of the mission as the Australian engineer and British signals advance parties were the only troops on the ground when the ceasefire collapsed in early April 1989.  They were hurriedly redeployed to bolster a renegotiated ceasefire by supervising the withdrawal of SWAPO guerillas from Namibia.  The Second contingent's engineering and local security activities were also instrumental in the successful return of thousands of refugees and the conduct of the general election.

 VEA:  Schedule 2.

 Awards: The Australian Contingent to UNTAG was originally awarded the ASM (1975-Present) Clasp “NAMIBIA”, however after a review of the awards system, this was changed to AASM (1975-Present) Clasp “NAMIBIA”, and UNTAG Medal




ASM 1975-present UNTAG Medal