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Denis Allaire

After joining the Canadian Armed forces on a bet, Denis Allaire faced the realities of conflict in Croatia, Rwanda and Bosnia.

Timmins, Ontario

Balkans Rwanda

Mr. Denis Allaire was born December 25, 1962, in Timmins, Ontario. As a young man, Mr. Allaire recalls his decision to join the military as a selfish opportunity for financial and security reasons and enlisted on a bet. He trained as a medic receiving trades training in Cornwallis, on the job training in Trenton and then six month training at Canadian Forces Base Borden Medical School. Joining the 5 Field Ambulance Division as an army medic, Mr. Allaire deployed overseas, his first deployment being in 1993 to Croatia, then Rwanda followed by two tours to Bosnia. After 24 years of military service, he discharged from the military. Mr. Allaire retired having a great sense of pride for his contribution and is thankful that he made that decision in life to join the Canadian Armed Forces.

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First Reality of War - HTML5 Transcript/Captions
Well first of all I volunteered to go. I had a choice to go being that young in the military you want to go and experience things. The culture shock I remember landing in Zagreb at the airport and we didn’t see much of the effects of the war. Even from the air we didn’t see that much because Zagreb is somewhat in the valley and you got mountains all around so when we landed at the airport but it’s after going through and it was funny we still had to go through customs as weird as it was. We got on our buses and then we started driving through the town and I think a kilometre past the airport and then I saw the first reality of the war. We saw one house that was totally intact and this one was totally imploded, blown up and this one was intact. So that was the first, I remember the briefing we had when they were doing culture ethnic cleansing. I imagine that house could have been a Serbian house so I saw that effect right there and it really, holy cow, this is what it is? And further down the road I just can’t remember the name of the town we went down like this like a 401 highway type of thing and then we got off and then we turn off towards where we are going, was it Daruvar, going towards that way and then we saw armoured vehicles from the old Yugoslavian army all blown up on the side and then it all just started sinking in looking at this. It was just like 72 hours ago I was in Winnipeg and your mentality is you’re living in Canadian space and then bang you’re there, “Holy cow, is this real?” It was surreal for the first little part of the tour and then coming into lecture when we got on the, when we got to Daruvar our UMS was not at the beginning, was not on the base per se. We were in a school and it was an orphanage so a quarter of that was the UMS so we were a bit living in the suburb area of Daruvar so we got to see a lot of the local people and in the evening if we went out for a jog and stuff like that of course we had to have somebody with a weapon and we just jogged around the little area and seeing the houses, you know, and the artillery shell holes left on the cement walls and the gunshots in the cement walls, blown up vehicle. You know it took about a few weeks to adjust to that area as per se back in Canada this does not exist, don’t walk on the grass because of possible landmines, booby traps. So all this new psyche in your head, it’s a different adjustment period and then when you’re in the middle of your tour and you go home on R&R you get back to Canadian soil and you’re seeing people walking on the grass, you’re seeing houses and all that and just the adjustment, holy cow, it seemed you were on one planet and then you came to another planet.

Where they served

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