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Vehicle Being Challenged While on Duty

Heroes Remember

Vehicle Being Challenged While on Duty

One night we had to go to the palace, the Karzai'€™s palace,€“ it was the presidential palace and it was this massive compound within the confines of the city and I just sort of went along because I was going to meet someone at the, some other security detail we were meeting up with to coordinate activities for another day so we left at night, sort of drive through and for the most part at night the streets in Kabul are deserted because there is curfew. So you can get from place to place but you drive fast and there'€™s no lights so we pull up to this gate at the pre-arranged time but no one told the guard that. And the guards at the palace, I can'€™t remember if they are Nepalese or they were almost like a quasi-military, para-military that was hired by the Americans who were in charge of the place. And we pull up to this gate and obviously the guy there had not expected us and I was sitting in the front seat in this unmarked, unarmoured vehicle and we had pulled up, you know, and I was expecting the same routine; the lights, let'€™s see your id, sort of who are you, it'€™s just you go through this routine, yes, it'€™s who they say they were before they sort of run you through these layers of security before you get to enter this place and this guard had not expected us and challenged the vehicle. He jumps out in front of the vehicle and screams like, I don'€™t know what he'€™s screaming, sort of basically, "€œStop, halt, hands up!" or whatever and he had cocked his rifle and he had brought it up to his shoulder right in front of the vehicle and I remember sitting in the front seat and I had my body armour on and I was armed but I mean this guy had the jump on us and basically could have shot the vehicle up and that would have been it. And he'€™s screaming and yelling at us to get out and he doesn'€™t speak English. It was like what do we do? And luckily there was someone there, his supervisor or whatever, sort of calmed him down and they realized who we were and we had shown our id and we got into the building but again, things go from being completely benign to I could have got killed there by this guy quite easily and that freaked me out that night and I thought that'€™s how fast things happen. It would have been oh sorry mistaken identity, sorry we thought your car was, and this guy had he of not had any more control could have lit us up easily so that was a bit of an eye opener. So there was several instances like that and the confidence in knowing that the guys I was with knew how to handle themselves and that sort of tempered the, that tempered my concerns because you know the unit that I was with these guys were trained very well, they know how to handle themselves so just being with them made me feel a lot better knowing that if the crap hit the fan at least I'€˜m with the best trained people who knew how to deal with it and I was fortunate enough to sort of absorb some of that training as well. So I knew that if something happened the best thing to do was basically, okay something has happened, follow us, this is the plan, we always had a plan so that kind of gave you more confidence. But to go along those routes, to go along those places where there had been an attack yesterday and, you know, you drive by the area and the place is burned out and there'€™s like a wreckage of the vehicle pushed in the ditch sort of thing, it was unnerving on a number of occasions.

Mr. Palmers speaks of an instance where security guards challenged their vehicle and the intensity that ensued.

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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