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A very Austere Environment

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A very Austere Environment

Somalia was the most austere operation I had ever been on before or after. In fact, I don’t think we deploy in conditions as austere as that. And there are a lot of good reasons for why it was so austere. It was a relatively short notice move to go to Somalia to begin with. You can appreciate the logistics problem trying to get stuff there to begin with. You know, most of our supplies, the vast majority of our supplies came in by air. The initial sort of lift of supplies was provided by the Canadian Navy on the supply ship and so when we arrived we had to wait for that ship to come in so whatever we had is what we carried in or what the aircraft could carry in. So quite to the contrary we didn’t have everything we needed. We certainly didn’t have it in the abundance either. It was very, very tough for the air force and if I am not mistaken at the height of our deployment there was about twelve “Herc” lifts coming in a day. You have seen our armored personnel carriers, I mean these ones were a little different than you see today but you can imagine the bulk of the engines and the tires and the transmissions and all that stuff had to be flown in. The environment was very difficult on the equipment that we were using and a large part of the lift capacity was used to make sure we had supplies that kept the combat vehicles operational. So very austere, we sort of built the camps a little at a time as materials presented themselves and sort of quite literally in the middle of the desert these commando camps would start to be erected but when the soldiers first arrived they were just sleeping in the sand in trenches they had dug in the perimeter areas and as six foot pickets would arrive and barbwire would arrive we would start, you know, making the camps and using tentage. I think the soldiers back then, when we first started out, had six liters of water a day in a very hot environment and that included the water that you would wash with. And it was some weeks before we got generators. The troops didn’t have any cold water It was about a month to six weeks before we got generators in that could run some of the fridges that they brought in so they could have cold water. Entertainment was a TV screen and a VCR running off a generator in a dusty tent in the middle of the desert. Soldiers worked in tremendously trying conditions, tremendously challenging conditions but did a great job over there and I still think to this day that it was my most gratifying deployment as a quartermaster with 3 Commando because you really had to do your job quite literally from the ground up. There was very little support. We had one truck to get to to carry our stuff back and forth and, you know, from where we had been to Somalia, in my opinion was a greater military culture leap than any subsequent deployment from Somalia forward.

In relation to the availability of supplies, Mr. Bradley explains the amount of equipment required in building a camp for the infantry.

Daniel Bradley

Mr. Daniel Bradley was born June 24, 1958 in Ottawa, Ontario. At 18 years of age, walking by a recruiting centre, Mr. Bradley made an impulsive decision to join the military having a desire for the infantry. Mr. Bradley became a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment holding rank as an infanteer and obtained training at CFB Cornwallis in Trenton, Ontario. After training, Mr. Bradley spent a bit of time In Canada service but in 1978 experienced his first operational deployment to Cyrpus. In 1992 Mr. Bradley was given another opportunity to deploy to Somalia and joined a contingency from the RCR and became part of the Airborne Regiment where he held rank of Chief Warrant Officer. As his military career continued Mr. Bradley was part of an operational to Croatia in 1994, Bosnia in 1997 and more recently 2002/03 travelled to Afghanistan on two different operations, one being Roto O as Company Sergeant Major. Mr. Bradley retired in 2011 with 35 years of military sevice.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
November 20, 2013
Person Interviewed:
Daniel Bradley
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Airborne Regiment
Quarter Master Sargent

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