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Stabilization Forces

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Stabilization Forces

The war in Bosnia had been over for, this is about three years after the end of the war ended I believe in 1995 and Canadian Forces were there for years before that but as part of SFOR, the Stabilization Forces, we still had troops on the ground and so it was a bit of a different environment where we weren’t, we really weren’t there between belligerent forces on either side, we were there to sort of maintain and monitor a cease fire. So my portion of that was in that I got to travel quite a lot within the country so there were security concerns. We were still pretty mindful and you had to be very careful of landmines. It was the big concern in Bosnia at the time. Landmines, uncleared routes, booby traps. We were really at that point really pushing ahead with de-mining so there was a lot of that activity going on. And there was resentment towards SFOR in certain parts of the country. Where we were in Bihac was a Muslim environment, we lived in a Muslim community which was at odds with a good portion of the rest of the country and across the river was the Republic of Srpska which was the Serb part of Bosnia. I worked in division headquarters which was in, the headquarters itself was in the Republic of Srpska so I travelled back and forth across the border quite often. So I travelled to Banja Luka was where I was based so you’d see the transition from areas that had not seen war through areas that were completely destroyed. I mean the areas looked like what our, what you might see on documentaries about World War Two. So these were parts of the city that are bombed out several years before that would have been the front lines between the Muslims and the Croats or the Muslims and the Serbs and there was quite a lot of destruction left from that. I travelled through those areas often and when you travel from the Bosnian-Muslim side to the Serbian side there was a noticeable difference between people’s attitudes. I think people in Coralici really valued the fact that NATO forces were there because it ensured their protection whereas on the Serbian side there was a feeling of resentment because you were seen as someone who had come from the outside to stop them from advancing so there was a noticeable change in culture.

Mr. Palmer defines his duties post-Bosnian war.

Phil Palmer

Mr. Phil Palmer was born October 16, 1969 in Calgary, Alberta. Mr. Palmer’s desire for the military started at a very young age as he always knew someday he would join. After graduating from high school, Mr. Palmer immediately enlisted in the military. Mr. Palmer joined the infantry with the Royal Canadian Regiment, was a member of the Airborne Regiment as a Paratrooper 3 Commando and later transferred to the Intelligence Operations as an Intelligence Operator. Over the course of 26 years, Mr. Palmer deployed to areas of Somalia, Bosnia and two deployments to Afghanistan. Mr. Palmer discharged from the military and now resides in Ottawa with his wife and family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
December 9, 2014
Person Interviewed:
Phil Palmer
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces

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