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Emotions Experienced After Bosnia

Heroes Remember

Emotions Experienced After Bosnia

I was angry for a long time when I got home from Bosnia. I was frustrated and sort of fed up with the belief that we should be doing more to help them but they also have to help themselves. So there’s challenges with that. I am not particularly well educated, I finished high school, I’m not a university graduate or anything else but I read. I like to read stories, I love to read books, I read a lot about Bosnia before I deployed there. I did the same thing when I went to Afghanistan. I wanted as much information as possible for what I was getting myself into. Bosnia is a murky web of issues that go back well before Tito took over after the Second World War and the warring states, there was a lot of hatred and racial prejudice and all these other issues that our six months there wasn’t going to make a difference but the presence of NATO there over the period and the UN before us would hopefully help to solidify and give them a stable platform to grow on. Whether that is effective or not, I don’t know. I think it has, I’ve got a number of people that have come back from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia that have moved to Canada. They have immigrated here since I was there. A couple of our interpreters and a couple of people we have met have come to Canada and they are doing very well here. That gives you a good feeling about the mission but you struggle with the inability to make more change or to make more of a difference but where is the line. It’s a very difficult place. Are we the ones to be policing and doing police work? It crosses a line of responsibility that the army has to tread very carefully and we are a policy enforcer, we’re not a policy maker and I think that’s the big difference with it is you’re put in a position where you can make a difference but you are also in a position where you’re very vulnerable because you are in the middle and that’s a peacekeeper’s nightmare. The blue beret wouldn’t protect you. We saw pictures of guys handcuffed to flag poles that were used as human shields to keep NATO from bombing them and, you know, you’re terrified of something like that happening to you being taken prisoner. Bosnia was bad, Afghanistan was worse but you have to kind of balance that with what you can achieve. One day you’re having tea at a shop in Bosnia and the next day you’re back in Canada and it’s that quick transition from mission to home that is hard to adjust to and it left me a little bitter that I couldn’t do more and yet so thankful to be in Canada where we have so much to be thankful for and appreciate and that stuck with me after Bosnia.

Mr. McCue expresses his concerns for himself and fellow soldiers who witness the cultures in Bosnia and how it affects them especially upon return home.

Robert McCue

Mr. Robert McCue was born August 22, 1972 in the city of Edmonton, Alberta. During his youth, he joined the air cadets and contributes this as a turning point towards a military career. Joining the Reserves, Mr. McCue became a part of the South Alberta Lighthorse Unit formerly known as the South Alberta Regiment. He accepted a deployment to Bosnia in 2003 as an infantry section commander, holding rank of sergeant. Later, he accepted a position with a newly developed unit, PSYOPS and deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. During this time Mr. McCue worked for Canada Post. Having a strong interest in military history and respecting the contributions made by his grandfather during WWI, Mr. McCue had the opportunity to travel as part of the delegation to Vimy in celebration of the 100th anniversary, an honour he will cherish for a lifetime. Mr. McCue presently resides in Edmonton, Alberta with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
April 3, 2017
Person Interviewed:
Robert McCue
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)

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