Geoff Hazel's story
Geoff Hazel was born in 1948 and grew up in and around Army camps in Victoria and New South Wales. In his final schooling was at Granville Boys High School, he was a member of the schools debating and basketball teams. He was also the Senior Under Officer in the school's Army Cadet unit.
On his 17th birthday, Geoff joined the regular Australian Army. After basic military training, he was posted to 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), then based as Woodside, South Australia. A few months later, Geoff met his future wife, Margaret. They were married the following year. Some months later, Geoff was deployed with the battalion for his first tour of duty in South Vietnam.
During his first tour in the Vietnam War, Geoff served in the Tet Offensive 1968 and the Battle of Coral-Balmoral. His battalion was later awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry for Coral-Balmoral.
In late 1969, Geoff was invited to become a member of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) and he went on to serve in that unit as an adviser to South Vietnamese forces during 1970-71. He proudly wears the 2 citations, USA and South Vietnam, awarded to the unit.
Geoff was sworn into the Australian Capital Territory Police on 11 September 1972.
Between 1972 and 1990, Geoff performed many roles, including operational work, training new personnel, media liaison and operational planning. He also deployed to Darwin in the Northern Territory in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy in 1974.
In 1979, the ACT Police became a key component in forming the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Geoff was promoted to commissioned rank in 1990.
Geoff's first peacekeeping deployment in 1992 was with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). In Cyprus, Geoff was the Operational Commander for sectors 1 and 2. He also served in the UN Police Humanitarian Officer and Contingent Administrative officer roles. He returned to Australia in 1993.
Geoff's next deployment in 1994 was with the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ). He became the commander for the 2nd Australian Contingent. In Mozambique, he also served as Chief Regional Investigations Officer. Geoff was awarded the UN Commissioner's Commendation for his services in Mozambique.
In 1999, Geoff was deployed as the UN Civilian Police commander in the district of Ermera, East Timor. The contingent was awarded the Australian Group Bravery Citation in East Timor.
In 2001, Geoff was the senior peacekeeper, all facets, on Malaita Island as part of the International Peace Monitoring Team, Solomon Islands.
Geoff returned to Cyprus in 2003 as the AFP contingent commander and the commander for all UN police on that mission. From here, he accepted an invitation to spend a short period with the Department of Peace Keeping Operations, New York.