|22 February 93
The past couple of days have been spent in camp
helping out 8 platoon with shifts and finally taking over garrison
platoon again today. Allot has happened over the past few
days. A couple of nights ago callsign 8 caught five people inside
the TDM, then the next night fired on four more going back through
the wire. They wounded
one, but all escaped. A full box of grenades is missing. Now we only have to
wait for them to come flying back over the wire at us. The same night 69'er ran
over a child while doing a sweep around 8's perimeter. The engineers also found a
couple of teenagers inside their compound.
Early yesterday one of the tango (armoured) callsigns hit a mine up
north. Then later the same day another tango hit another mine while
leading the recovery vehicle to the first. Luckily no-one was hurt
except the vehicles. The armoured guys also ran into an
Ethiopian contingent doing cross border operations and chased them back
As the Somali summer comes, the days are getting even hotter and the
wind is dying. Apparently the rainy season starts in April and this
whole area floods. It should be interesting.
Be built a new shower yesterday to replace the plastic solar
showers that we have been using. It started with a 25 foot high
wooden tower with an oil tank on top. A pipe attached to the bilge
pump from a carrier pumps water up to the tank and another pipe runs back
down to three shower nozzles with shutoff valves nailed to a wooden frame,
24 February 93
We handed garrison duty over to 8 platoon last night at 16h00.
Now we are on Sunday routine and standby to guard a food convoy coming up
I got violently ill last night. It hit me late in the evening
with stomach and muscle cramps. I went to bed hoping to sleep it
off, but I only managed to doze in and out of sleep until two. At
two I went out to the wire and vomited violently and repeatedly into the
concertina. I was up until around four puking and pacing in pain,
then I managed to get a couple of hours of sleep before we got up at
25 February 93
I was pretty weak all day yesterday, but after a
good nights sleep I am feeling a bit better. This afternoon we
headed out for a two day patrol. Our first stop was the Albino
village to see if the aid agencies had been by and to check on the sick
family, a product of our guilty consciences I guess. Of course, the
aid agencies had not made it out and the people were in desperate need of
water which we could not spare. The family was gone and the hut
destroyed. The villagers said that they had been moved to the next
village down, so I guess we will never know if they made it.
Just as dark fell last night we set up a roadblock at the intersection
of two well used tracks just down from the Albino village. As the
sun set we settled down to wait until the vehicles started arriving.
It was beginning to look like a wasted night when at about 1:30 a large
truck full of grain arrived. We had seen the glow of its lights on
the horizon for hours and were beginning to think it would never
arrive. We began searching the vehicle by hand and with mine
detectors and under the first layer of bags the weapons started turning
up. First an AK, then a SAR-80, then a G3, all loaded with rounds in
Clearing the AK, Sgt Veary fired one round by mistake. Everyone
was up and at a ready in an instant, tense fingers on triggers until it
became clear what happened.. We finished searching the vehicle, let
it go, but kept the weapons. As usual I knuckled onto the AK and
crawled off to sleep.
26 February 93
We pulled in the roadblock at about 3:30 this morning and headed off south for a
raid of the town of Tedaan. A few kilometers out of town we shut
down the carriers and began moving on foot. At dawn we were set up
for the sweep with the platoon in extended line north of the village and
Sgt Veary and I acting as cutoff with the C6 to the east of the
village. All of this only yielded one anti-tank mine which had been
cut open with a can opener and emptied of its explosives.
We stopped to eat breakfast a few kilometers out of town and contacted
headquarters for further orders. 31C headed back to Beled Weyne to
assist in the sweep of the city tomorrow and we started driving for
Yesouman to do a last light sweep of that town. We stopped in a hide
around noon and Sgt Goodbody took out a recce patrol to the town.
Then at about three, Sgt Veary and I moved in as a sniper team carrying
the C6 and a sniper rifle.
The heat of the afternoon was unbearable. The move to town felt
like it would never end. It was agonizingly slow moving stealthily
through the desert under the high sun loaded down with heavy
weapons. Eventually the buildings came into view. We attempted
to approach the town from several different directions, but kept running
into people who we could not get past in the open terrain. Since we
could not get close enough to lay down effective fire as it was, we
decided to move closer passing a young boy and judge the reaction. I
scared the boy when I called him over, but after giving him a Canada
pin, he led us close to town where we set up a position.
We did not have the heart to hold the boy until after the sweep, so we
let him go running off into town. Being like any kid, he told
everyone he saw and work quickly spread through the town that there were
soldiers preparing to move in. Luckily everything remained quiet
until the entire callsign swept through soon after.
Just to the south of the village we found an overturned truck,
destroyed, with bags of grain strewn everywhere. We stopped to
help. Apparently the truck lost control going down the steep hill
last night. It overturned killing five and wounding 30. One
person was still missing, they thought under the wreckage. We hooked
up tow cables to the truck and righted it in hope of finding the last
body, but it was not there.
From here we headed southwest to the Mogadishu highway through the
Italian sector. We passed one Italian patrol. Well past dark
we set up a roadblock on the Mogadishu highway and were rejoined by
callsign 31C. We started off extremely busy, searching about seven
vehicles in the first hour alone. It is going to be a long and busy
27 February 93
By the time my shift on early warning just past
midnight last night rolled around things were beginning to quiet down with
only a few vehicles coming through each hour. We captured several
weapons including a SAR-80 and an Italian 7.62mm BM 59 PC by Berretta, but
made by Springfield Armouries in the States. The BM 59 is a
beautiful weapon, much like an M14 with a bipod and a folding butt.
It also has a grenade launcher site and the flash eliminator pops off to accept a grenade launcher.
We packed up the roadblock at five-thirty and were on the road back to
Beled Weyne by Six. We spent the day cleaning weapons and catching
up on sleep. The in the evening came Area 3
Day. We invited all ex-3 Commando personnel, the platoon of
Royals and some American Sea-Bees over for a BBQ of roast Chicken and
fried Potatoes. They lifted the beer ration in the evening and we
drank as much as we liked, until it ran out. It turned out to be a
great night with old friends like Mud, Blake, etc. Even if my
stomach couldn't handle the beer (and god, I tried!) I spent most of
the evening hanging out on 32A's new porch that they build out of
palettes. It is nice, we will have to build one ourselves.