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The Heart of Canadian Soldiers

Heroes Remember

The Heart of Canadian Soldiers

We would do escorts, regular escorts, for families who were of a different ethnic race to go back into their communities that had been taken over by, you know, a foreign side. And we would escort them to their houses to retrieve whatever items they could carry. We did a lot of that, I remember walking with one, we had done an escort and someone came in behind us and set up a trip wire with antipersonnel mines there. Actually an officer tripped it and it was a good thing that it missed him, I don't think he was hurt too hard, but it, it could be very tense because that other side they don't want those people back there, that's you know the reason why they got rid of them because they weren't like them. So they would come back and a lot of times there would, there would be people shooting at you know those, you know basically innocent, you know refugees, whatever you wanted to call them, misplaced people coming to get food. There was one lady who went to her house and decided to walk through the grass up to her house, a normal thing that you would never give a second thought to here in Canada. But she happened to walk into an area full of land mines. And she had to stop and she stood there, and that, I had, we watched and I mean there was nothing, we had support and engineer support we had engineers there and we called them in and they came in and eventually cleared a path for her to get out. But I just couldn't imagine what she was going through standing there for, she stood there for a couple hours in that one spot, she did not move The interpreter told her and she even, you know she said she seen the landmines and they know what they are over there, I mean there was so many and she just stood there, like for hours waiting for engineers to come in and they rescued her finally and we, they even made sure there was a path clear so that she could get to her house to get her belongings. And I think that's going the extra mile, that, that shows the heart of a Canadian soldier, to do that. You know, I don't know but I think, I imagine some people might go, "Well too bad, you're place is mined, bye." You know we didn't know if the whole place was mined but a way to get her in there we, they took, found out the shortest route just to get to her area and they made sure it was clear. You know, they walked around with her and you know once they knew it was clear she grabbed up everything she could carry and we helped her on the truck and we would take them back to their side where their people were. Made sure they were safe and, you know it happened a lot we did quite a few of those, those escorts, refugee escorts I guess if you want to call them. They happen quite a bit, and there was always tension from the other side because they were going either in or around their old homes where other people had moved into. So, you know, there was always, there was a lot of arguments between people about, "No you're in my house" and "I want my stuff", you know and you would have to, I guess be as, as nice as you can, and you know just kinda hold the one person back and let the other person go and you would have to find a happy balance there of treatment, a fair balanced treatment was what worked, at our level anyways on the ground.

Mr. Neepin describes escorting civilians into invaded towns to retrieve items from their homes. He recalls one particular escort in which he felt they as Canadians went the extra mile.

Darcy Jeremy Neepin

Mr Neepin was born in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, and moved to Winnipeg with his family while still young. An uncle who served with the 1st Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) told him many stories as he grew up. From these stories he gained knowledge of what military life as an infantryman was like and before he turned 12 years old he was sure he wanted to serve. At the age of 18 Mr. Neepin joined the Cameron Highlanders Reserves. Being of Cree descent, he was the only Aboriginal Canadian in his recruiting class of 30. In 1990 Mr. Neepin answered the call for volunteers to join the 1st Battalion PPCLI for a peacekeeping tour in Cyprus. Having his first overseas experience under his belt, he returned home in the summer of 1991. Mr Neepin continued to volunteer for overseas peacekeeping missions, serving with the PPCLI for the 1992/93 tour in Croatia and in 1997 & 2000 in Bosnia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Darcy Jeremy Neepin
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

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