UN honours SA military helicopter crews


Taskings executed by the airborne South African component of the United Nations (UN) mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo were acknowledged when composite helicopter unit (CHU) air and ground personnel were honoured with 44 UN medals.

The CHU is based at Goma in the eastern DR Congo and its achievements since starting up some 10 years ago have been noted positively by senior UN peacekeeping personnel.

A UN medal parade for dedicated service by CHU personnel is reported on by Major A Cengani, RSABATT (South African battalion) public information officer, who quoted MONUSCO Chief of Staff, Brigadier General VZ Ngcobo’s words to those awarded the medal.

“We are celebrating the medal parade of the CHU. The presence of distinguished guests is a befitting endorsement of the achievements of the Republic of South Africa peacekeepers which substantiated itself as the best of the best. South African peacekeepers continually serve with unstinted resilience and unwavering mettle in MONUSCO.

“Despite vulnerabilities and challenging climatic conditions in DR Congo, South African Aviation provided a commendable influence to the mission.

“You have excelled on the mandate given by MONUSCO Force Headquarters.

“Since the beginning of your operation under the auspice of MONUSCO, Rooivalk flew 86.28 hours, while three Oryx flew 985.28 hours [between January 2021 and January 2022]. You achieved this due to a high level of competence as men and women of the SA National Defence force (SANDF) who dedicated their time for peace and stability in DR Congo.”

CHU operates three Rooivalk combat support helicopters assigned to 16 Squadron at Air Force Base (AFB) Bloemspruit and Oryx medium transport rotorcraft from three squadrons that operate the type. They are 15 (AFB Durban), 17 (AFB Swartkop) and 19 (AFB Hoedspruit).