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Highlight of My Career

Heroes Remember

Highlight of My Career

Interviewer: I read in your book, a statement that, of all your experience and all your miliary knowledge and ranks that you held and everything, that your time in Sarajevo was one of the highlights of your career. Yeah the highlight and that's been very misinterpreted by my critics. They say, how the hell could he, you know, how the hell could he enjoy that, you know. These are all the things he did wrong, you know, how could he enjoy that? But it was the most challenging, yeah, absolutely. It was by far the most challenging, demanding and actually, I remember my Dad when, when he, when he took his release. He wandered around for a year in Cape Breton with not much to do, but then he got taken on at Louisbourg as a labourer building the fortress and on the second day there the roads were sort of falling apart. The service roads. So he's a soils technician, trained at Fort Bellevue, Virginia, Canadian Engineer so he sorted that out. The next day the under-graduate surveyors were having a problem so he sorted that out. So the boss of the organization called him in and said, “What's your background?” He said, “Sergeant-Major Combat Engineers.” He said, “Well you're now my construction superintendent”, which he did for 10 years building the fortress of Louisbourg and used all those skills he learned in the military, but never practiced. Well I was the same way. I thought I would retire with these training, education exercises, experiences I had. I never really put them to use. Then all of a sudden, at least for six months, I was able to use a lot of it. So from that point of view, it was really quite satisfying and, and nothing else reached the level of adrenaline, you know, that Sarajevo did and I was blessed with unbelievably good soldiers and I'm not being bias. The best ones were, you know, were Canadians.

Major-General MacKenzie recalls his experience in Sarajevo as one of his most challenging and fulfilling times of his service.

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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