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What Canadians Could Offer the People of Zimbabwe.

Heroes Remember

What Canadians Could Offer the People of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe got their independence in 1980, and at the time, well we know the history, and at the time it was a (inaudible), a white government, you know. In the air force, it was an all white air force, but there were very few blacks in their air force, you know. And I think at the time nobody knew which way the country would go, so Canada as well as the US, putting out feelers, saying “Well look now, this is the sort of training that we can offer your people.” And in the air force in particular, I think the idea was that we should show them their doctors, they had no doctors trained in aviation medicine. When the pilots had to do that sort of training, like had to do training they’d go down to South Africa, you see. But they had nobody, nobody from Zimbabwe who was trained in aviation medicine. So really I was sent there to assist them in this particular field also assist in the clinical work and more or less show them well look, this is what we can offer you in Canada. But as always happens, by the time I got there, there was an American air force doctor who out-ranked me, and he was offering them the same training. And in fact what actually happened was that initially some of them did go to the States and get the same training. The Americans, they wouldn’t give them the same training that they would offer their people or that we would get if we went down there, but they got something, you know, they would copy together a course for them. So in that particular fact I was seconded to an organization called Canadian Executive Service Overseas and they then sent me to Zimbabwe under their hospices.

Dr. Blizzard provides his opinion as to the purpose of sending Canadian Forces to Zimbabwe.

Dr. Stephen Blizzard

Dr. Stephen Blizzard was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad in 1928. His father was the principal of a primary school during his childhood. Dr. Blizzard left Trinidad in 1948. He received a scholarship to attend high school and graduated in 1953 from a school in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1958 he came to Canada. In 1959, he attended university with the Reserve Training Plan in Ontario attending medical school and in 1963 graduated in medicine and chose to intern at the Ottawa Citizen Hospital and resident in surgery at the National Defence Medical Centre. He spent two years as Senior Medical Officer at Rockcliffe base then was posted to Moosejaw where he had medical training and training to fly jets. On December 13, 1968 he obtained his wings. Following this, Dr. Blizzard was posted to the RCAF Institute of Aviation Medicine. Afer returning to Trinidad for six years, Dr. Blizzard then came back to Canada in 1976. With 16 years of military service, Dr. Blizzard continued on his career path and was employed with the Department of Civil Aviation Medicine holding many positions, one being senior official on the aviation medical review board for 12 years. Dr. Blizzard contributes much of his military career training to his success in life.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Dr. Stephen Blizzard
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Air Force
Aviation Medicine

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