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A Variety of Tasks in the Intelligence Branch

Heroes Remember

A Variety of Tasks in the Intelligence Branch

I’d spent most of my time working within the confines of the British base where I helped with the divisional electronic warfare element so the divisional electronic warfare controlled all of our NATO assets within the southwest area so there was Dutch, British, Canadian assets on the ground so we just basically coordinated where those assets were needed and wherever there is security operations going on then we could direct those assets so I did that for a few months.. I got to experience a couple of interesting missions, operations that were probably done outside of what we would do normally but nothing besides the possibility of driving down roads that were mined or booby traps or whatnot, my job was not on the front lines so I avoided that so I got to see another aspect of, I guess another aspect of warfare that I might not have experienced when I was a front line soldier in Somalia where there was quite a bit more danger and your life was directly threatened. I think I was fortunate to be sort of out of that environment in Bosnia but I took a lot away from it and I was lucky to sort of see I guess the inner-workings of military headquarters operations and I got to see a different side of security other than just bayonets and barbed-wire. Despite the fact there are different areas and deal with different cultures, I think the sad thing about war is that they have a commonality in that people suffer and as a soldier there is internal, you have your own suffering within your own organizations and within your, you know, your group, your comrades but there is always an external component to that which is really the thing that can make things difficult. I think that the war had been over for several years by the time I got to Bosnia but the leftover effects from that were still quite evident. There was operations at the time when I was there going on where they were collecting bodies, exchanging bodies back and forth on either side that had been sort of buried hastily during combat so the society themselves were still going through quite a hard time. I mean there was lots of left over, I mean the scars of war were everywhere and they were just beginning to clean up. This is coming from a country like Somalia which was so completely different than your own, it was easy sometimes to just put the whole thing into this alien context but in terms of the fighting in Bosnia - Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia, it was so similar to Canada that it made it believable that this could actually happen. It just brought it a little closer to home because you are driving down roads that are very similar to Canadian roads or out in the countryside it looks like you are outside of Ottawa and there's blown up bridges and burned out houses and, you know, spray paint on doors where the Serbs had gone through and sort of ethnically cleansed the area and you are driving by deserted farmhouses and deserted towns that were basically the people had been driven out and killed so it was kind of an eerie experience knowing that several years earlier people had lived there and they are now probably dead. That was kind of eerie especially some of the towns that were right on the river between the border between Bosnia and Republic of Srpska, it was like a ghost town on either side so it was a bit odd.

Mr. Palmer describes some of the operations and missions that he was involved with outside the normal day to day duties of coordinating NATO assets.

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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