United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Major General Michael Beary as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Major General Beary will command approx 10,598 uniformed personnel from over 40 countries with a land, maritime and air component, including an Irish Infantry Group of 186 personnel, which will increase to 360 in November.
Ireland last held the position of Force Commander UNIFIL from February 1981 to May 1986 when Lieutenant General William ‘Bull’ O’Callaghan held the appointment. 47 Irish Defence Forces personnel have lost their lives serving with UNIFIL since 1978, with over 32,000 individual tours of duty completed in that time.
Major General Beary has extensive overseas experience, recently serving as the Head of Mission of the EU Training Mission Somalia, from Aug 2011 to Feb 2013. He was also seconded to the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU where he served three years in the EU Military Staff Division and served on three previous deployments to South Lebanon with UNIFIL, including appointments as Company Commander and Staff Officer in Operations Branch, UNIFIL HQ.
He has also served as part of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) and in Bosnia & Herzegovina with United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and in 2003, completed a four-month tour of duty in HQ ISAF in Afghanistan.
He is a graduate of NUI Galway, the Smurfit Business School, the Irish Defence Forces Command and Staff School and the National War College, Defence University, Washington D.C. from which he obtained a Master of Science degree in National Security Studies.