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Existing in a Primal Environment

Heroes Remember

Existing in a Primal Environment

I always felt that there was a reason for us to be there and not just Canadians, all the coalition, everyone that was there. But if I could be brutally honest with you by the end of the tour I wasn’t a very nice person. I was seasoned in combat and saw lots of terrible things. The only way I can describe it as the longer you live in kind of a primal environment you become primal kill or be killed and, you know, it’s either him or me whether it’s enemy. You trusted people a lot less so this kind of, I don’t want to use the word fluffy but oh we’re going to go help people. This provincial reconstruction team, we’re going to help. Well very quickly we learned that that is not the way this mission was actually going to go. I got over there in January and by April late April it was a lot of enemy contact and then it just completely escalated all the way into the summer so we call it the fighting season which was new to us. I think that as a battle group handled it incredibly well. I think we put Canadians back on the map in like you know the next generation that was the next thing. I was more proud to be part of that than my sense of pride for helping people if that makes any sense. I knew we were making history at that point in time and we became, I can’t speak for everybody obviously. When you become seasoned in an environment like that you can’t turn that off. There was no, yes we did good here, let’s go home. I was very, I guess, angry, caveman person and I think what was also very interesting you became to enjoy it. I think that was the most interesting thing in my take home point was when I got home I couldn’t satisfy that sense of rawness or conflict. We thrived off it, you know, in the moment of a firefight or whatever took place, time goes by very slow in those events as well and a lot happens very quickly. And then when it’s all said and done and whether we’re back safe in our camp or whatever in the evening, how you can laugh about what happened earlier, like, “remember when you dropped that or you did this and I can’t believe that got stuck there, oh my god I can’t believe no one got hurt.” And we laugh about it. And then you are craving it. It was very addictive to go get that adrenalin surge I think. So in coming home you could not satisfy that adrenalin I guess. I don’t even think it was good adrenalin but it was fire fight response I guess and after being in a high tempo for such a long period of time that doesn’t go away overnight. And I don’t think anything really prepared us for that.

Vanessa shares a very personal and honest reflection of how her experiences during this tour changed her personality and desire for combat

Vanessa Larter

Ms. Vanessa Larter was born April 17, 1982 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. After graduating from high school Vanessa studied at UPEI and later made the choice to join the military as a medical technician. Her basic training took her to Gagetown, N,B, Camp Borden, Ontario for her first medical course, BC for paramedic school and then finally to settle with his first job in Edmonton, Alberta. She joined with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry with occupation of army medic. Along with In-Canada service Vanessa had two deployments to Afghanistan, 2006 and 2008. With a sixteen year career Vanessa is still in the military and resides at Camp Borden as a physician assistant holding rank of sergeant. Vanessa has great pride for her military service. She now resides in Ontario with her three children.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
October 27, 2018
Person Interviewed:
Vanessa Larter
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
Army medic

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