26th December 2015 - Death of Lieutenant General William "Bill" Callaghan DSM.

Image Courtesy of Curragh.info

The death has occurred of Lieutenant General William "Bill" Callaghan, a Cork native who had the unique distinction of holding the two (2) most important United Nations appointments in the Middle East and arguably the world during a particularly tumultuous period in the 1980s, when he was the Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from February 1981 to May 1986 and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO,)* from May 1986 to June 1987.

Lt Gen Callaghan was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) from the Irish Defence Forces for his outstanding contribution. He was also awarded the French Legion d'Honneur and the Lebanese National Order of the Cedar.


William Callaghan joined the Defence Forces via the 13th Cadet Class in 1939. Every year, the "Lt Gen William Callaghan Sword" is awarded to the Cadet who displays the best tactical ability throughout their intensive officer training course in the Cadet School.


*UNTSO is the largest command military appointment in the United Nations and indeed the world, exercising control of multinational forces in Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt. 


Lt Gen Callaghan was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) from the Irish Defence Forces for his outstanding service. He was also awarded the French Legion d'Honneur and the Lebanese National Order of the Cedar. William Callaghan joined the Defence Forces with the 13th Cadet Class in 1939. Every year, the "Lt Gen William Callaghan Sword" is awarded to the Cadet who displays the best tactical ability throughout their intensive officer training course in the Cadet School.

In an interview in April 1982 with American magazine "People," with UNIFIL having suffered 145 combat casualties in its previous 4 years, 35 of them fatalities, he said; "Peacekeeping is not about firing shots. Its about not firing and stopping those who are. We must look for trouble at the 4 points of the compass, and then we look behind our backs."


Press Release Date: 26th December 2015

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