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Операция ООН в Конго
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Операция ООН в Конго

Signalman Thomas W. Mulholland receiving the UNOC Service Medal in 1962

Операция Организации Объединённых Наций в Конго
(Завершенная операция)

Расположение Республика Конго (ныне Заир)
Штаб-квартира Леопольдвиль (ныне Киншаса)
Продолжительность Июль 1960 г. — июнь 1964 г.
Численный состав 19 828 военнослужащих при поддержке международного и местного гражданского персонала
Потери (убитыми) 250 (245 военнослужащих и 5 местных гражданских сотрудников)
Расходы 400 130 793 долл. США
Функции Изначально была создана для обеспечения вывода бельгийских сил, оказания помощи правительству в поддержании правопорядка и для предоставления технической помощи. Впоследствии функции ОНУК были изменены таким образом, чтобы она могла поддерживать территориальную целостность и политическую независимость Конго, предотвращая развязывание гражданской войны и обеспечивая вывод всех иностранных военных и полувоенных формирований, военных советников, не находящихся под командованием Организации Объединенных Наций, а также всех наемников.

Воспоминания ветерана

Tom Mulholland is an Information Technologies Consultant currently living in the city of Calgary, Canada. I enlisted in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in 1958. I completed Basic Training and technical training as a Radio Equipment Technician. I was then transferred to the 1st Airborne Signals Troop in Calgary, Alberta. After appropriate training, I qualified as a paratrooper and served with the 1st Airborne Signals Troop until March of 1962. In March of 1962, I was assigned a tour of duty in the Belgian Congo (Zaire) with the Canadian contingent of the United Nations. I was 21 years old, just married, and this was the beginning of an historic adventure. Little did I realize that I would be experiencing, at firsthand, the beginning of the end of European colonization in Africa. The trip began with a flight from Ottawa, Canada to Shannon Airport in Ireland.The Royal Canadian Air Force had acquired a Comet IIaircraft, and it was my first flight in a jet-engineaircraft. If my memory serves me correctly, we changed aircraft in Shannon and boarded a propeller driven transport aircraft. Air force flight personnel welcomed us aboard and immediately distributed earplugs. This aircraft had in-line engines instead of radial engines, and the vibration and noise was incredible. At night the exhaust ports of these engines burned red which also didn't contribute to our comfort level. We landed at a British military airbase at Tripoli, Libya for fuel and a breakfast of sausage and eggs. We were awed by the sight of rows of delta-winged bombers under desert camouflage nets. The next leg of the trip was to Lagos, Nigeria. France did not support the UN action in Zaire, and forbid any UN flights over their colonial possessions. As a result we had to fly a rather circuitous route, but eventually reached Lagos. After a short stop, we flew on to Leopoldville (Kinshasa). Zaire had gained its independence from Belgium in 1960, but the result was chaos and the UN had stepped in to restore order, ensure the withdrawal of Belgian troops and avert civil war. The ONUC (Organization des Nations unies au Congo) operation involved 93,000 troops from 35 countries over four years until it was finally wound down in 1964. Canada's primary contribution was to re-establish and maintain voice and data communications throughout the country. Over 2,000 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Signal Corps, and headquarters staff eventually served in Zaire. Upon arrival in Kinshasa, I was assigned to the Main Radio Relay site of UN operations in Zaire. After a short orientation period had expired, I was transferred to the Signal Corps detachment in Stanleyville, now renamed Kisangani. These detachments were established in the major cities of Zaire, and included Bukavu, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani and Matadi. Each detachment usually consisted of seven personnel: The Detachment Commander (usually an Infantry Officer), a Radio Equipment Technician, a Teletype / Cipher Technician, Radio Operators and Cipher Clerks. ONUC Headquarters in Kinshasa depended on communications from these remote detachments to keep apprised of the current situation. The UN troops in Kisangani were Ethiopian, and included a contingent of Emperor Haile Selassie's personnel bodyguard. Kisangani had been the home base of Patrice Lumumba. He was the founder and leader of the Congolese National Movement (Mouvement National Congolais; MNC), the first nationwide Congolese political party. He was asked to form the first government, which he succeeded in doing on June 23, 1960. He was overthrown by the Congolese army leader, Colonel Joseph Mobutu (president of Zaire as Mobutu Sese Seko) on the 14th of September, who later reached a working agreement with the president, Joseph Kasavubu. Patrice Lumumba was captured by Kasavubu forces and arrested on the 2nd of December 1960. He was delivered to the Katanga secessionist regime, where he was murdered. The memory of Patrice Lumumba is commemorated in Russia by the Patrice Lumumba University. I was still stationed in Kisangani during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is referred to in Russian history texts as the Caribbean Crisis. This crisis occurred in the last two weeks of October 1962, and created unbearable tensions for military personnel stationed far from home and their families. Years later, while working in Russia, I exchanged memories with former Russian military personnel who were stationed in Cuba during that very tense period. It is interesting to note that Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin, who negotiated the agreement with Robert Kennedy to end the crisis, remained Moscow's Ambassador to Washington until 1986. This implies a high level of trust by both Russia and the USA in Ambassador Dobrynin's diplomatic skills. I completed my ONUC assignment in November, 1962 and returned to Canada. In April of 1993, approximately 30 years later, I accepted a work assignment in Russia. I spent approximately one year near Nizhnevartovsk providing communications support for a Joint Venture with the Chernogorneft Joint-Stock Company. When this project ended, I obtained a one-year contract with a Canadian Oil Company operating in the Republic of Yemen. In August of 1995, I returned to Kogalym to provide communications and computing support for Vatoil JV. I remained in this position until March 2000 when my services were no longer required. Leaving Russia was a very difficult experience for me. I left behind many good friends I had made over the years. However, work experience or exchange programs with other countries leads to an appreciation of different cultures and languages. It is encouraging to see young people on Aeroflot or KLM returning from a year of studies in North America, and conversely North American students studying at Russian Universities. This will surely lead to stronger bonds between our countries. Respectfully, Tom Mulholland.

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