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

Somalia '93



16 March 93

Last night I was set up on the edge of the road in the center of the roadblock as fire support for the searches.  I was dozing between searches, lying on the pavement behind my C6 machine gun.  Suddenly I awoke to the sound of exploding tires and was blinded by the lights of a speeding truck trying to break through the roadblock.  I grabbed my weapon and rolled off of the road just as the truck rolled over my position.  Behind me, two of the troops opened up with warning shots above the vehicle.  Miraculously the trucks breaks started working at this very instant and the truck quickly came to a stop and the driver scrambled out apologizing for his failed breaks.  We ended up stopping and searching 35 vehicles yesterday and last night and only found one rifle.

ChrisWe closed down the roadblock at seven this morning and headed south into Bulo Burti to the Italian camp to pick up an aid convoy.  The Italian camp is much better laid out than our own.  It has only one perimeter surrounded by a high birm topped with sandbags.  Outside there is a 15 foot wide minefield then two rows of concertina.  I bet they do not have problems with intruders.

We are set up in several compounds, one per unit.  This was done not for security or defense, but so that the REMF's and senior officers could set up their positions around the abandoned buildings that they have had repaired for their offices and sleeping quarters.  Our compounds are also square instead of a proper triangular defensive position which is more secure and requires fewer men to defend.  Then to top it off, our camps face each other, so if we ever had to defend ourselves we would be firing into our other camps.

The aid convoy consisted of 8 military trucks and 17 Somali trucks loaded with food and medical supplies destined for the CARE compound in Beled Weyne.  Escorting the convoy was a slow and tedious affair with the Somali trucks only able to do 30 km's per hour and constantly breaking down or getting flat tires.  It took forever, but eventually we made it to Beled Weyne and dropped the convoy off at the airstrip.  Only one kid threw rocks at us going through town.

Passing by the refugee camp I saw Iifra on the side of the road.  She saw me and ran after the carrier calling my name.  She looked happy and healthy.  I am glad I saw her again, I was worried.  In fact I was looking for her as we drove through, I just wish we could have stopped.

By the time we returned to camp I was sun fucked.  We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the support weapons, then stood down.  I got a care package from Nicki today.  It had enough gum in it to last a year and several different spices.  It was better than a birthday present.  Daren also got a care package of 6 Kokanee beer.  What an awesome day!

We have been overrun by camel spiders.  We killed three in the tent tonight and many in the other tents.  31A also killed another scorpion and a green centipede about five inches long.  We put two camel spiders together and they fought to the death.  Within a half an hour, the winner had eaten the other in the entirety, including the shell.

They are strange creatures, not really spiders.  They have ten legs, two eyes and their four mandible like jaws are more like two sets of claws attached without arms.  WO Bradley says they are only called camel spiders by the locals and that they are also called sun scorpions, who knows?

The preventive medical tech is supposed to be coming tomorrow to spray.  I hope it works and they don't rebel and eat him (or me during the night!)

17 March 93

Today I am going to Mombasa on R & R.  Everybody who is going was anxious to get going this morning, packing kit, showering, repacking kit, waiting...  Time seemed to crawl waiting for noon.  At twelve we turned in our weapons, got our leave passes and passports, then finished packing.  At one we lined up for a pay parade and finally left for the airstrip at about two where we are sitting waiting for the plane which is delayed.

In the last 24 hours, 2 Cdo got 2 kills.  An ICRC guard fired at one of the troops, so they wasted him.  They also captured 4 guys in their wire last night.  They left them tied up overnight, but one of them woke up dead.  They say it was a brain hemorrhage or something.

On the plane to Mombasa we played pass the ace for 200 ksh ($5 Cdn) a pop.  With 10 guys playing, the pot was pretty sweet, but there was harsh competition.  Of course, I lost!  It did make the trip go quicker though and besides, it was fun. 

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