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A Walking Target

Heroes Remember

As a peacekeeper you have to be out in the open all the time. So as a peacekeeper you are a walking target. And you have that mind set and you accept it, and it’s important to show the blue. It’s important to show the colours all the time. So you can’t do your job as a peacekeeper and hide inside your vehicle. You can’t do your job as a peacekeeper and hide and be hidden. You have to be out there all the time and you have to be the one that’s willing to step in front of civilians and take a bullet if need be. You’re there to protect these people. So you know, all this war fighting training and then switch into the peacekeeper mode was kind of strange at times and I actually had to call home one day from the PTT building where General MacKenzie had the headquarters element because I was, I had to organize getting back to the States where my wife was at the time. So I had the opportunity to make a phone call from Sarajevo and back then I mean in this day and age you’ve got internet, you’ve got satellite phones. We didn’t talk to our families sometimes for three or for weeks on end because we just did not have access. More often than not, we would use civilian pay phones to call home to Germany to talk to our loved ones, but in Sarajevo that was absolutely impossible. And so I had to go to the headquarters building to make a phone call home and I was talking to my wife, organizing flights when my leave cause I was actually going to go on my home location leave from Sarajevo, and then all these mortars came coming in around our building and artillery started to come down. And I was talking to my wife, she could hear the explosions and my dad says, “holy shit”, from the livingroom because it’s a live feed on CNN. He’s watching artillery rounds coming in to Sarajevo and I’m in one of the buildings, and I’m talking to my wife and then the line goes dead. And for the next week or until I got a chance to call her back, she had no idea what in the hell was going on. I mean thankfully everything was okay cause that was common place, but for my family I think for them they feared for my life much, much more than I am because I know what’s going on in the surroundings. I know that everything is going to be okay but for them to watch this building getting mortared that I’m making a phone call from, they have no idea if I was going to be alive or know?

Mr. MacDonald explains the responsibility of a peacekeeper and the level of protection provided.

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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