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

Somalia '93


Death of a Friend

3 May 93

A friend died today for nothing.  It was a sick accident, a cruel twist of fate so close to the end of the tour.  Right now I am sitting in the dark on a roadblock trying to make sense of what happened and coming to terms with my feelings.  I guess that after carrying loaded weapons around with us 24 hours a day, it was bound to happen eventually.  Tony is taking it really hard.  To kill another human being is hard enough, but to kill a friend is beyond comprehension.

Seeing Mike lying in the dirt, blood spreading out into the desert was unreal, I didn't want to believe what I was seeing.  One look and I knew he was dead, but the others refused to believe it.  They continued CPR until the ambulance arrived and for a half hour in the field hospital.  He died quickly though, the bullet entered his forehead and blew the back of his head out.  It is probably better that way, I don't think a person like Mike could live as a vegetable.

We have thrown ourselves into our work with a vengeance tonight, trying to forget.  We have already found four weapons in an hour and a half.  We are seeing more weapons in town lately and for the last two nights the ROWPU has come under attack.  It is a good indication of how little we have done to bring peace to this country.  We have rebuilt their economy and police forces, but we cannot bring peace unless they are willing to stop killing each other and lay down their arms.  There is no way we could ever fully disarm a country like this.  The weapons we capture are just a token gesture.

Mike's death makes me wonder is any of it was worth while.  Up to this point we have been extremely lucky with the number of mines we have hit and the number of times we have been shot at.  How would we have reacted if it was the Somalis who killed one of our own?

8 May 93

Last night we had a BBQ and a few beer in Mike's memory.  It was a much nicer way to say goodbye than the memorial parade, Mike would have wanted it that way.  It was weird seeing Tony drinking with everyone.  He was smiling constantly as if seeking acceptance from everyone.  He is taking it better than I expected, probably because of all the support everyone has been giving him.

On the 5th, we escorted a food convoy from Bulo Burti to Montebann, then north to a small ghost town on the border with the SNF area.  The food was unloaded and we guarded it for a day until the SNF trucks arrived to pick it up.  While there, I found a large black scorpion that was as long as my outstretched hand.  I captured him and brought him back to camp.  He ate my other pet scorpions without even a fight.  Today, while working I found a five inch long centipede.  It was about a centimeter wide.  Then tonight while I was taking a piss, a camel spider ran up the piss tube and jumped at me.

The bugs here are starting to wear on my nerves.  The camel spiders hide on the shelves above my cot as if in ambush.  You can hear them run across the floors as you sleep and when you try and step on them, they stand up to you, darting at you making a squealing sound.  Some guys sleep under their bug nets hoping to keep them out.  I sleep without a net.  I figure the net will just piss them off and I don't want to be trapped inside a net with an angry camel spider.

Tonight the sergeants actually bought a round of beer for the troops - how out of character.  The platoon commander, callsign spider, is back from leave and still seeking the acceptance of his troops but finding none.  Some things never change.

Hot TubThe rainy season is finally here.  We have been having some wicked storms and rain nearly every day.  Huge thunder clouds roll across the sky flashing lightning and pouring out rain.  Everything is turning green and there is a smell of life about everything.  The nights have been cooler and there is often a good wind.  It is much more humid though, making some days unbearable.  The rain is fantastic though.

Everything is in full swing to bring us home.  One Commando is gone to Mogadishu and we have begun to tear down and pack our equipment.  Yesterday was spent cleaning kit and today I was down at callsign 8 building crates.

Barbara McDougall is arriving tomorrow as part of the investigation.  Apparently the media is now saying that we are a bunch of neo-nazi, white supremacist skin heads and KKK members.  Sure there are a few racists here, but less than in any average cross-section of Canadian society.  The media is still raising hell about the four Somalis we killed, but say nothing about the 180 that the Belgians killed or the countless that the Americans have killed.  It is really starting to bother me the way the media is treating us. 

My leave in Mombasa from the 23rd to the 27th of April was excellent.  I stayed at the Reef hotel again and did my advanced scuba course with Howard, the hotel instructor.  I also bought a bunch of Ethiopian silver and of course spent allot of time exploring Mombasa and the night clubs.  I've decided to take my two weeks leave in Mombasa because I want to return to Canada with the Commando.  That will only leave me with nine days off, so I don't really have time to go elsewhere.

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