Somalia Medal The Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia
A Soldier's Journals
Wednesday, July 18, 2018  

Somalia '93




 

Growing Frustration

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 into Ethiopia.

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, what comfort!

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 from Mogadishu.

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 six.

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 the chamber.

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 night.

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.

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