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Promotion in the Field

Heroes Remember

Promotion in the Field

Interesting enough I guess I’m the first one since World War Two, I was promoted in the field. I was promoted to Major-General in the field. I was going to be promoted Major-General I think about six months later when I got back to Canada to take over the Army of Ontario, but it was felt that when Lattich, the Commander of the Bosnian Serbs, when he was brought in, Malasavich sent him in. He was a colonel in the Serbian Army and they made him a 3-star General, Lieutenant-General and sent him in to command the new Bosnia Army. And so it was felt, and I certainly agreed, that as a Major-General I would probably have an easier time with him then as a Brigadier. Cause in some militaries, including the Brits, Brigadier is not a general officer. You’re a Brigadier. You’re not a Brigadier-General like in Canada and the US. So I gratefully accepted a promotion. Where do you get a rank badge? You’re in the middle of Sarajevo. So my proudest possession by far, which is in a museum now in Chilliwack, is my EA took a Brigadier’s rank badge and cut with the scissors at night a little maple leaf out of it and then he, with his field, he stitched it on to the vest. So rather than being flat, there’s one maple leaf that stands proud being stitched on top of the other. So I mean, absolutely my most-prized possession. And you’re right because eighty percent of what I did should have been done by a diplomat, should have been done by public relations people. I had no PR people, nobody would volunteer to come to Sarajevo to do that and so I did that myself The positive thing was though, it made me a darling of the media that was in Sarajevo and they portrayed us in a very positive way cause they dealt directly with me. They didn’t go through a spokesperson. So dealing with them was, and boy have I been wrongly condemned, particularly by the Muslims for saying this, probably the best six months of my life. Never tired, getting a couple hours a night and eating spaghetti three times a day and, but enough, just a trickle of adrenaline, that’s going through. A lot of death threats, some coming by fax with return fax numbers. I mean can you believe it? And, but just the pleasure watching you know, Canadian soldiers do their job and do it really well.

Major-General MacKenzie speaks about his promotion to Major-General in the field and receiving his Canadian rank badge.

Lewis MacKenzie

Major-General Lewis Mackenzie was born April 30, 1940 in Truro, Nova Scotia and raised in nearby Princeport. He is a graduate of Xavier Junior College, Sydney, Cape Breton and the University of Manitoba. He is a retired general, author and media commentator. General MacKenzie is famous for establishing and commanding Sector Sarajevo’s part of the United Nations Protection Force UNPROFOR in Yugoslavia in 1992. As a result he became the only Canadian, military or civilian, to be awarded a second Meritorious Service Cross. After his many years of service, General MacKenzie retired from the Canadian Forces in 1993. His personal account of his military experiences are written in a book he wrote, “Peacekeeper, Road to Sarajevo”. As well, MacKenzie wrote his second book, “Soldiers Made Me Look Good”. Since retirement, MacKenzie is a regular commentator and in demand as a lecturer in leadership. Major-General MacKenzie continues his role as a leader and a positive influence for the Canadian Youth.

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

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