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Reality Check - Gun to the Head

Heroes Remember

Reality Check - Gun to the Head

Interviewer: When was the first time that you really saw reality and you noticed this isn't training anymore? It would actually be at my Cyprus tour, we were at the Camp Berger was the name of the, the camp we were at but there's another one called Flower Duhouse (sp) and it was just a ways from camp Berger. And one of the sides decided that they wanted to start digging a longer trench and building a wall, which isn't, wasn't allowed under the UN cease fire agreement. And I was a private then so I didn't really know, all I knew is the sergeant came out and said, "Yeah we gotta go up here and talk to them and see what's, why they're building this trench and why they're extending it." Because you know at the cease, and at the cease fire agreement everything stayed as it was, you don't build up more or add things more. So we went up there and I don't know why he did it but I mean you couldn't really understand them, they were talking in their language, and for whatever reason he decided to kick over the wall. And the commander with his troops pulled up their rifles and cocked them, and pointed them right at our heads. And it's better now but back then, you know, I carried twenty rounds in one magazine. A magazine will hold thirty rounds and you usually have five magazines on you, full of thirty rounds each. In other tours you did but this one you didn't because of agreements I guess and you know training took over, took over immediately following my nervousness and he backed off the, my sergeant backed off right away when he seen that because you know there's one rifle and he had a pistol that was it and you got a whole platoon of belligerents there saying we're gonna kill ya, you know, if that's what they were saying. Couldn't understand them so we backed off, turned around and left and I think that was really my first time, my first taste of having someone not happy with you that wasn't you know Canadian. Like you do your work up trainings and you work up to live fire you know here in Canada and it's all safety orientated and you know that a lot of times that the positions you're attacking aren't going to fire back but you know these people were there ready with full ammo to fire back if he would have kicked something else down. I don't know why he ever did that but... Interviewer: Was that the first time someone put a gun to your head? Yep. Yeah that was the first time. And it was a big gun. So yeah, that was a, that was a good reality check and it was also, I think it was a test, it was, you know how did I react like we didn't go after them or anything but we, we remained relatively calm and you know backed off and did what I think should have been done in the first place and reported it to higher and, you know where ever higher took that. You know and dealt with them you know I don't think that was at our level to deal with it but yeah...

Mr. Neepin recalls a tense situation during which he and his sergeant’s lives were threatened.

Darcy Jeremy Neepin

Mr Neepin was born in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, and moved to Winnipeg with his family while still young. An uncle who served with the 1st Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) told him many stories as he grew up. From these stories he gained knowledge of what military life as an infantryman was like and before he turned 12 years old he was sure he wanted to serve. At the age of 18 Mr. Neepin joined the Cameron Highlanders Reserves. Being of Cree descent, he was the only Aboriginal Canadian in his recruiting class of 30. In 1990 Mr. Neepin answered the call for volunteers to join the 1st Battalion PPCLI for a peacekeeping tour in Cyprus. Having his first overseas experience under his belt, he returned home in the summer of 1991. Mr Neepin continued to volunteer for overseas peacekeeping missions, serving with the PPCLI for the 1992/93 tour in Croatia and in 1997 & 2000 in Bosnia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Darcy Jeremy Neepin
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)

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