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Hearing the Snap of a Bullet

Heroes Remember

Hearing the Snap of a Bullet

The rules of engagement were there really to protect civilians, protect us. Unless you knew who was shooting at you, you couldn’t shoot back. But I was involved in a mini fire fight near the airport where a sniper was taking shots at us. Sergeant Davy McDade and was in a lead vehicle, I was behind him and we were stopped at a checkpoint cause sometimes vehicles could only go, you know, one at a time because of a one-way street and we were kind of halted between the airport and Beaver Camp on this highway. It was kind of a no man’s land. It was an area where you just, no one really owned it and we were waiting for a French relief convoy to come through and next thing you know shots started getting fired at us. I’ll never forget I was on, I had my headset on listening to the radio and I heard the snap of the bullet going by my head. So that’s how close they were and they actually, and the sniper shot at Sergeant McDade’s vehicle in front of us and I’ll never, I remember seeing Corporal Dorinson with his binoculars looking to our left. Looking at like a industrial area about two 300 metres to our left and hitting Sergeant McDade on the shoulder and pointing this way and I remember looking and then he looked. And I can remember him having his rifle up and firing and then I saw the silhouette in this window of this warehouse complex and we were able to fire back. Cause we knew this was the guy shooting at us. But that was the only time and it was one of the very few times that Canadians actually ever fired back because the rules of engagement were so robust that unless you knew exactly who was shooting at you, you cannot return fire. But it was for a good reason cause there were so many civilians around you had to be very, very careful because if you were to engage somebody that you were a bit iffy, you could inadvertently hurt a civilian. So and we knew we cannot fire back unless you exactly know where that belligerent is or where that person is otherwise you might inadvertently hurt some civilians. So for me I think we all understood that’s the reason why we have to have these rules of engagements.

As a peacekeeper, Mr. MacDonald describes his experiences under the rules of engagement and the inability to fire back.

Ross MacDonald

Mr. Ross MacDonald was born April 4, 1967 in Peterborough, Ontario. His parents immigrated from the United Kingdom to Canada in 1960. After graduating from high school, Ross tried the college life, but because of his interest in the outdoors and strong involvement in sports he decided to join the army. At age 20, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces in Petawawa, Ontario joining 3 Royal Canadian Regiment. As part of his training, Mr. MacDonald travelled and lived in Germany for two years. In 1992, Mr. MacDonald joined 3 RCR November Company Group on a tour to Sarajevo to provide humanitarian aid and supplies to the besieged city. Because of his service, Mr. MacDonald was awarded the Commander-in-Chief Commendation. Due to medical release, Mr. MacDonald left the military, but continued to work with the soldiers needing support under the OSSIS program, a government position he holds today.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ross MacDonald
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Regiment

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