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Heroes Remember

Interviewer: Correct me if I'm wrong, but at that time our soldiers were not allowed to fire back. They were there to keep the peace. They were there to keep the peace. The only time you were authorized to fire back was if you were in imminent danger and they were actually firing at you. We have examples of that, the previous year in ‘74 when the insurrection came out. Like, a friend of mine, Norm LeClair, was shot while he was over there and they shot back and to extract him out of there and so on. So you could, if your life was in imminent danger, but you really had to justify if you ever opened up. None of our soldiers ever did in my unit while we were there. Interviewer: How does someone cope with that? Like, how do you balance your training, your professionalism and yet what's going on around you is very difficult to understand? It's pushed into you before you go that you're not there as, there's no enemy. You're there to provide assistance to both sides to keep them from killing each other and that is something that takes a while to sort of set your mind around because you try to be as friendly to both sides as you can be and then, Cyprus it was easier to be friendly with the Greeks but yet they were more, less disciplined than the Turks and you'd go to the side of the Turks and they treated you fairly and everything else but they were more reserved. But yet, both sides hated the other side. Interviewer: And the main purpose in you being there was to keep the parties at peace. To maintain the peace, yeah. To keep them apart and allow them to calm down and try to get the talks going again, and it took a while but the talks started going. And when I was there on my second tour the talks were going, ongoing, even though very little progress was made. At least while they're talking, they're not shooting at each other. Interviewer: So would you say that your purpose for being there was accomplished? I think it was because for every successful tour that you've had there, and that the war didn't break out again, I think for humanity it was certainly an accomplishment because there'd be one less grieving family, one less person killed. And I mean each individual is important.

Mr. Gallant discusses the main goal of the mission in Cyprus which was to maintain the peace between the Turks and the Greeks.

Fred Gallant

Born into an Acadian family in Mont-Carmel, Prince Edward Island, Mr. Gallant joined the Army and rose to the rank of Captain. He served two tours in Cyprus as part of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) during the 1970s and 1980s as Battery Captain. His methods helped many soldiers and his interventions most likely saved the lives of his own, and many Greeks and Turks. Years later, now a Major, he became a UN Military Observer as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), maintaining the peace between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. He worked in all three middle eastern countries and has some eye opening stories to tell.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Fred Gallant
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Montreal Regiment

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