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People Paid to Kill You & You're Paid to Kill Them

Heroes Remember

People Paid to Kill You & You're Paid to Kill Them

Interviewer: Can you tell me about the first time you arrived in another country? Well, other than flying into the United States, which we did a lot in training command, the first real adventure was, was first going to Cold Lake to train on the CF 404 Starfighter, and then arriving in Germany in April of 1972, with my family, to take up residence in Germany for about three and a half years and fly the Starfighter operationally in NATO. The thing that struck you first about flying in Germany operationally with an airplane like the Starfighter, and when you're doing your mission planning and flying the first mission, is that 150 miles away, there are people that, that will kill you and they're paid to kill you, and they're paid to be prepared to kill you, and you better be prepared to do likewise. So, it did bring a sense of, a sense of reality, I mean, just living in Germany, in West Germany, and understanding, obviously some of the history of the, of the area, and the history of Europe during the last hundred years kind of thing. It gave you a real appreciation that the people there, even though sometimes they complained about the noise of the airplanes and so on, they understood why you were there, and they appreciated, appreciated why you were there. And your focus was on being as prepared as you could be to, if it happened, to fly across the border and kill people. I mean, what we did was not peacekeeping, you know, Canadians have an image of, of us as the world's peacekeepers. What we did in NATO, Army, Navy and Air Force, was not peacekeeping, it was preparing for war. It was peace enforcement. It was preparation to deter, or if necessary, repel any Soviet aggression on, on Western Europe. So the whole, I mean everything we did over there was focussed on that.

Mr. Hawn explains why the time he was stationed with North Atlantic Treaty Organization in West Germany was not "peacekeeping".

Laurie Hawn

Mr. Hawn was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1947. After finishing High School, Mr. Hawn opted to join the Air Force in order to further his education, with an ultimate goal of becoming a pilot. At the age of 18, Mr. Hawn flew for the first time, and by the age of 19 he became a flight instructor. First with T-Birds (T33's), then with Starfighters (CF104's). After instructing for 5 years in Cold Lake, Alberta, in April 1972, Mr. Hawn accepted a 3 ½ year posting with NATO in West Germany. After finishing his tour in West Germany, Mr. Hawn returned to flight instructing in Cold Lake, but was regularly posted to West Germany for a few weeks at a time. In 1988, Mr. Hawn was made Commanding Officer of 416 squadron. He held the position for 2 years, relinquishing it only weeks before the start of the first Gulf War, having only just stepped down, Mr. Hawn severely disappointed when he was not chosen to accompany the squadron when posted to Iraq. After a 30 year career, Mr. Hawn retired from the service. He now resides in Edmonton, Alberta, with his wife and family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Laurie Hawn
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Peacekeeping/Peacemaking in West Germany
Air Force

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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