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In Uniform for 26 Years

Heroes Remember

In Uniform for 26 Years

So I was sitting home, it was in March, it was just like crummy weather and my wife was working so I was basically at home most of the day doing my homework and Canada was drawing down in Afghanistan at the time and we were getting the rest of our troops out and it was all over the news and what I’d do in the mornings was after I take the kids to school I’d walk the dog and we’d walk in the woods behind where we lived and that morning the last planes were supposed to arrive in Canada and it was on the news but I didn’t really think anything of it. And I had just come back from the walk and the woods where we walk is directly under the flight path of the Ottawa airport so I’m so used to planes flying in and out all the time so I’d come up, I was walking down the street and I saw the lights from the aircraft coming in and I’m like, “That’s a big plane!” And as it gets closer I realize it’s a C-17 with F-18’s on either side of it. So as I stood there flying over, it was literally, it was so close to me and I realized that’s it, it’s over. The whole last fourteen years, thirteen years, everything up and down and my involvement in the mission from 2003 and everything we did back in Canada to support that and all the training and then going back in 2008 and, you know, that whole chapter was closing and this is all running through my mind as this plane is flying like literally over my head. For twenty six years prior to that I was in uniform and it was a big part of my life and it still is a big part of my life. Transitioning is not easy. It’s hard and I miss the people I work with and I missed everything about it and so I was kind of melancholy and then I saw, this happened and oh… It was just a very profound moment in my life so it brought back a lot of memories and good memories and bad memories. It’s important for people to carry on with their lives and I think a small part of me will hang onto that but it’s almost as important to move on and have good memories about what happened rather than just hanging onto the bad memories so that’s what I’m trying to do.

Mr. Palmer shares an experience he had of the reality of Canada drawing down from Afghanistan as he watches the C-17 land in Canada.

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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