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Heroes Remember

I just barely had time to pack my things and I was in Afghanistan and we hadn't been there more than two days before we were on operations. You know, we, we hit the ground and the next day they're handing us ammo and we're getting ready to go on an operation. We, the rest of the battalion had been in Afghanistan for about a, for about three weeks before my group got there. And then we got there and, you know, a day and a half later we're on, we're in a helicopter ready to go. So it was, it was hard and fast. It came, it was quite a, it overwhelmed the senses, you know, I was on a mountain top in, in no time and it was a real shock. Interviewer: Tell me everything you remember about Afghanistan. I have no, I can't even imagine what it was like over there. Well it was, it was very physically challenging the operations there. It was I, I, I don't remember the, the, the altitude, but these mountains were quite high in elevation. We got dropped off at the bottom and we, you know, my, my pack was, my pack was about a hundred and fifty pounds. And I was, I was on pain killers and muscle relaxants at the time because I had a, I was in a car accident shortly before I left for Afghanistan and I was still sore from it, so I had all these pills and I was, luckily, I was taking them and I was, kinda got me through. It was very physically demanding. I was the eighty-four gunner and I carried a rucksack with an eighty-four anti-tank gun on it and it was, it was quite heavy. You know, it was about a hundred and fifty pounds at least. Physically very tough, very tough going up these mountains very hostile environment. It was hot, deadly hot in the day and cold at night. Physically just almost impossible. I, how, like, how we were able to carry on and go the distance we went, we, we pretty, we humped for about twenty-four hours. We got, we got dropped off in the morning and we went till the next morning. We didn't stop before we got in our position at the top of the mountain and we cleared pretty well the whole mountainside on the way. How we did it? I don't know. I don't know how I was able to do that, but it was, it was quite amazing really. We did a lot of, basically sensitive site exploration is what it was called. It was looking in caves. We come across the cave, we, we'd search it, often finding weapons in a lot of the caves and then we'd blow it up so that they couldn't, they couldn't use it again. Very harsh environment that we operated in. I recall we, there was, was one cave was on a, how they ever got in there I don't know because it was a cliff face. We didn't know how they got in there, but it turned out that one entrance was only one of many. But they were, they were very hard to spot, they were, because they would pile rocks in the entrances and it would be, you know, what's a pile of rocks in a pile of rocks. It, they were very hard to spot. We had one, we couldn't really, we couldn't get troops through so I was told to blow it up with my anti-tank gun, which I did. I put, I had a special round called a bunker buster that I put, I, it was quite a phenomenal shot, too, ‘cause it was about, it was about three hundred metres away and I put it, put it in quite a small hole with my first shot. I blew this cave up and all these air vents and other entrances started smoking. So it looked like I blew the top of the mountain off. It was quite phenomenal, ‘cause I, I couldn't see anything. All I seen was smoke through my site, but everyone else was just amazed by how, by, by all the smoke that came out. I looked and the machine gunner on our right flank said he, there was, apparently there was troops in this, like, there was enemy troops in this cave because he said he saw legs come flying out of the one end. So we got at least one of them. So at least that one we know for sure there was enemy in, but we were unable to go in ‘cause the, the bunker buster basically sealed all the entrances. So we were, and it was just too hard to get at. We were unable to sweep that cave, but all we seen was, we did have report of bodies in there so, you know, I felt kind of numb to it. All, I was more, I was more concentrated on the, making the shot ‘cause it was a really difficult shot to make. That I, you know, I wasn't worried about whether there was anybody in it or not, but you know. They were bad guys so, you know. "Sucks to be you."

Mr. Grossinger talks about being in Afghanistan and what it was like to be in a combat situation. He describes the environment and the physical challenges of being there. He also talks about going through caves when looking for the enemy.

Darcy Grossinger

Mr.Grossinger was born in 1969 in Germany, and was raised on army bases around the world due to his father’s service in the Canadian Forces. Seeking adventure and the opportunity to travel, Mr.Grossinger enlisted in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in November of 1989. He became a rifleman and climbed the ranks quickly becoming a corporal. In the fall of 1992, Mr.Grossinger was given his first assignment overseas in Croatia with the United Nations Peacekeeping operations. Over the course of the six month tour, Mr.Grossinger did many jobs, including releif convoys, escorts and patrolling missions. It wasn’t until 1997, and again in 2000, Mr.Grossinger would return to that area, only this time he was stationed in Bosnia under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Shortly after his 2000 tour in Bosnia, he was sent as part of an American brigade doing sensitive site exploration in the challenging mountains of Afganistan.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
November 15, 2005
Person Interviewed:
Darcy Grossinger
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)

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