UN medals for SA airmen and medics

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Meritorious service by South African peacekeepers in various air and medical musterings was rewarded with the appropriate United Nations (UN) medal at their Goma base in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The medal parade last month (December) saw 70 SA Air Force (SAAF) and SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) personnel from the Composite Helicopter Unit (CHU) and Area Medical Evacuation Team (AMET) presented with the UN service medal. The medal honours were performed by MONUSCO Force Chief of Staff (CoS), Brigadier General SB Gwaya, representing Force Commander, Lieutenant General Otávio Rodrigues De Miranda Filho.

Addressing the South Africans against a backdrop of Oryx medium transport and Rooivalk combat support helicopters, the Tanzanian one-star said they “left a mark in the UN and DRC. Your dedication shines through and is a reminder of unit strength”.

CHU Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel L Mahada had an “honours list” for military personnel attached to the MONUSCO Goma base in the form of certificates of appreciation. Recipients included the Force Commander’s officer, Force Provost Marshal, Staff Officers attached to the expanded joint verification mechanism (EJVM) and the Senegalese formed police unit 1 (SENFPU1).

Last September saw another batch of South African military men and women from 10 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion and TIU (Tactical Intelligence Unit) III all honoured with the UN service medal.

Their medals, as is standard UN practice, are inscribed with the words “In service of peace”.

Medal parades normally take place when a country deployment to MONUSCO either ends or is rotated.

With the DRC mission set to wrap up operations in December at the request of government, a number of medal parades can reasonably be expected as troop and equipment withdrawals, already underway in eastern DRC, continue.