Somalia Medal The Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia
A Soldier's Journals
Tuesday, September 28, 2021  

Somalia '93


Returning Home

20 May 93

Mogadishu was nice compared to Beled Weyne.  It is not too hot and I managed to get to the beach every day.  The beach was a small strip of sand by the airport with warm clear water and killer surf.  As we swam and body surfed in the huge waves, dark silhouettes of sharks would pass beneath us like ghostly shadows.

The rest of the time was spent packing and inspecting our kit.  Now we are finally flying back home.  We boarded the plane at 9:30 this morning, an hour early!  The service on the plane is great, a wonderful change from Somalia or even Kenya.  It makes the hard part of leaving everything behind a little bit easier.  The stewardesses had been given flak jackets and helmets and taken for a quick tour around the airstrip in an armoured personnel carrier before the flight and they spent half of the time talking about their experience and the things they saw.

21 May 93

It took us 31 hours to get home, 19 or 20 of that on the plane.  We stopped in Athens to refuel, then at Shannon, Ireland.  At Shannon we were allowed off the plane to shop at the duty free.  I was exhausted by the time we started flying over the Atlantic.  By the time we landed I had only been able to sleep for about a half an hour.  The excitement and anxiety of finally returning home took its toll.

It took us forever to unload the plane and then customs took hours searching everything.  I slept on the floor of the bus all the way back to Petawawa.  As soon as we arrived, we turned our weapons in at stores, then headed up to the mess hall for our 'reception.'  There was a small honour guard and General Beno said a few words and we were free.

We were assigned new rooms in the barracks, broke open our duty free and started partying.  I didn't get to bed until five.  I got a few hours of poor sleep before the RAG at noon today.  It is still unreal being home.  I notice everything, how clean everything is, how everything smells.  I couln't sleep last night, my mind was just racing in sensory overload.

I think we are going to be dealing with our ghosts for a long time.  Many of the guys don't realize just how much all of this has affected them, changed them.  They just think that they can go back into their old lives, back to the way they were, but they don't realize how different they are.

22 May 93

Trevor's Mom was late picking us up and he got delayed at the hospital, so I didn't meet Mom in Gravenhurst until about 8 p.m.  She was just about to give up on me.  Driving back to Collingwood we spent much of the trip in uncomfortable silence.

Coming in the door I found a house full of ballons.  Sherri had dropped them by to welcome me home.  We then went over to Kelsey's.  They had put up a large "Welcome Home" sign and the place was full of balloons.  I tried to walk out, but they wouldn't let me.  I stayed for them, but I was really uncomfortable.  Every time a balloon popped I would jump and I couldn't handle the noise, the questions or the crowd.  I had a couple of beer then slipped out alone.

Michelle had called, so I headed up to Thornbury to see her.  We sat on the step of the church talking late into the night.  Surrounded by the quiet darkness I felt safe.

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