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S 12 Cambodia

20 October 1991 – 7 October 1993

Because of the four-sided civil war in Cambodia, which began after Vietnam intervened in Cambodia in 1979 to overthrow the Khmer Rouge regime, the United Nations (UN) proposed an observer mission to monitor the withdrawal of Vietnam from Cambodia, and to supervise an internal peace process.  This process began in 1989 when two Australian officers were deployed to Thailand and Cambodia on the UN reconnaissance team planning the mission.

Australia contributed a 65 – strong communications unit to the UN Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC).  The Australians (under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Russell Stuart) were among the first UN troops in Cambodia, providing support to UNAMIC which had been tasked to set in motion the peace process in Cambodia and pave the way for the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).

UNTAC was established in February 1992.  The Australian Defence Forces contingent increased to 502 personnel, comprising the 488 strong Force Communications Unit (FCU) and 14 staff on HQ UNTAC spread out across 60 locations throughout Cambodia.  The FCU was originally based on the 2nd Signal Regiment, but reinforced from many other units, including 20 personnel each from the RAN and the RAAF.  The FCU, during its time in Cambodia, provided the communications network between the military headquarters of the four opposing forces within Cambodia and the UNAMIC headquarters.  It also, among other things, planned and executed the withdrawal of approximately 1,000 tonnes of stores and equipment as deployed sub units were withdrawn to Phnom Penh from their provincial areas of deployment.

UNTAC's military component comprised some 16,000 personnel from 32 countries.  The Force Commander of this operation was Australia's Lieutenant General J M Sanderson.

From 11 May to 9 September 1992, a Movement Control Group (MCG) comprising seven RAN, 16 Army and seven RAAF personnel joined UNTAC.  The MCG included a headquarters and nine three person teams, and coordinated the reception and movement of forces during UNTAC's main deployment phase.  From 15 May to 19 July 1993, Australia contributed a further 115 troops and six S70A Blackhawk helicopters, with the deployment of a squadron from 5 Aviation Regiment and an infantry platoon party from the 2/4th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment.

Allotment Certificates may be viewed in the Service Eligibility Assistant in the Legislation Library as below:

Army - Instrument dated 26 August 1994

RAAF - Instrument dated 23 July 1994

RAN - Instrument dated 30 October 1993

Background UNAMIC:

Background UNTAC:


Alexander M Palmer, 1996, Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers, Military Minded, Perth.