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The Limitation of Service

Heroes Remember

The Limitation of Service

We weren’t there to really stop anything. Your rules of engagement says you know you can’t stop an argument, or nothing like that you are only allowed to give force that has been given on you so if someone doesn’t have a weapon pointing at me I can’t point my weapon at them, I can’t shoot a warning shot unless I feel threatened so you can only protect yourself if you feel threatened so even though two guys are fighting and you know you could probably step in and stop it, that’s not what you are there to do because we might risk harm to ourselves in that case or look like we are taking sides or something like that so you report higher and you let the chain of command decide what they want to do. But you felt helpless for a lot of things, yeah. Because you are just standing there witnessing it. You know someone is carrying that torch walking over to that house; he’s going to burn it. People in a car accident alongside the road are fighting and arguing, you want to step in and, you know, push them aside, wait for the police to show up and you keep driving, that’s not what you’re there for. Coming from a culture back here in Canada where normally you would stop and lend aid or something for an accident alongside the road but all we could do was roll up and see that everyone’s okay, they’re walking around so we keep rolling because you didn’t want to get caught in the middle of it. That’s the worst thing, you’re there for the convoy you’re not there for anything else because if you stop the convoy has got to stop. When the convoy stops that’s when people start climbing over the vehicles stealing stuff. When we stopped anywhere the co-driver would get out and walk around the vehicle because you got fuel tied on the side, your back gate door isn’t locked, they could climb in your ambulance or even the fuel tanker; they could do anything to them so you tried never to stop until you got to the camp you were supposed to get to. It’s always a threat. Even our fuelled Jerry cans, we usually just tied like a little cord to put on. I know people that put locks on them and everything because otherwise if you stop and you didn’t get out quick enough they were gone. They are scavenging for anything they can grab.

Guided by rules of engagement, Mr. Williams expresses the certain degree of helplessness the medics felt witnessing confrontations amongst the locals.

Andy Williams

Mr. Williams was born June 24, 1964 in Trenton, Ontario. His father being in the Air Force, Mr. Williams had the strong desire to join, however, when his time came, the decision for service would be army and began his training career as an army medic. In 1985 he joined as a reservist and spent 25 years with the Regular Force. In 1997, Mr. Williams was deployed to Bosnia with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Royal Canadians holding rank of master corporal. Another opportunity for a posting was exercised in 1998 when he deployed to Kosovo, this time with the 1 Service Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. Mr. William’s army career as a medic took him to many In-Canada posting serving with the Canadian military and upon retirement resides in Berwick, Nova Scotia with his wife and family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
March 19, 2014
Person Interviewed:
Andy Williams
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Lord Strathcona’s Horse

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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