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A Devastated Country

Heroes Remember


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A Devastated Country

Well, we were deployed to Ancona, Italy and from there we flew across the Black Sea to Sarajevo. And, of course, that time you would go and get the weather briefing and the conditions on the landing strip whether we could land or whether there was live fire or whatnot, so it dictated to us whether we could go over there or whatnot. But the first day I went over there it was to do basically a recce to see where we landed, what we had to do and go up to the hospital because it was all children that we were evacuating. So you go to the Children’s hospital and see which ones were able to go, of course, everything was so politically it had to go up to Switzerland first for approval and then Switzerland would tell us who we could pick up. So I went over there and got off the plane and then we got an armoured personnel carrier, tanks right, we had to drive up and this gorgeous place that I remember seeing on TV when the Olympics were there. The great big field, the great big gorgeous trees were all gone, chopped down and used for firewood. The roads were all blown up. Driving up, the big pot holes, like a man hole there, drive around there and you never know what was going on. And we got up to the hospital and half of it was already blown up. It was just gruesome to see kids in there and their condition. Something you would never see back in Canada and your heart just goes out.

Ms. Simmonds recalls the devastating sights witnessed as she and the crew arrived in Sarajevo.

Cavell Simmonds

Ms. Cavell Simmonds was born March 1, 1951 in Bishop Falls, Newfoundland. Receiving her degree in nursing, Ms. Simmonds began her career in public hospitals. In 1974, she made the choice to join the military and during her service, she held rank of captain in the role of nurse in-Canada service as well as overseas deployments to Bosnia and Rwanda with the air force branch having responsibility of flight nurse during these overseas missions. Ms. Simmonds retired from the military in 2009 with 35 years service. Stricken with PTSD, she has found support through Soldier On and this year, 2018, she was chosen to be part of Team Canada for the Invictus Games held in Sydney, Australia. To her credit, Ms. Simmonds is the oldest member of Team Canada and successfully obtained a bronze medal in archery and Best Female Competitor in golf. Ms. Simmonds holds great pride for her accomplishments and is proud to be wearing the Canadian Maple leaf again as part of Team Canada Invictus 2018! She now resides in Calgary, Alberta.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
July 25, 2018
Person Interviewed:
Cavell Simmonds
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Air Force

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