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The task was well defined

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The task was well defined

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We'd never had terrain analysis or terrain analysts working with a battle group. So, we, we never even exercised it, so, we, we really . . . we'd always worked at strategic level with divisions, fanciful divisions and that. So there were set product for that, "Can I move a regiment of tanks through the woods here? And we always exercised in Germany or a made up country of some sort. So, here we were doing it with real guys, real vehicle in a real situation, with the task that they had was support the humanitarian aid, and their secondary task was the promotion of peace. And that was the guidelines for the United Nations and the Canadian government. And we had our rules of engagement, so the task was well defined The guys going there, unlike my trip to Egypt, had been well briefed on what the, what the country was, what the culture was, what the mission was, and they'd actually practice, and exercise that mission. We went to Camp Pendleton, California, for a month and we worked as if we were in, in Bosnia doing the job. And when we practiced in California we practiced with live ammunition. We did it with blank ammunition for a while, and then where everybody was issued their allotment of live ammunition, and it was very real. You slept with your rifle. You didn't lock it up at the end of the day, put it away, so it was a very real exercise in training and very different thing for me, having been removed from the armoured corps for so many years. It was, it was going back. Here some of the people I taught pay level three to, were now Warrant Officers and, and that. So, they, they were now, out ranked me, but . . . but I was there to do a special job, so it was a different, different atmosphere happening.

Mr. Laxton describes the advance training he received prior to leaving for Bosnia.

David Laxton

Mr. Laxton was born into a military family in New Westminster, British Columbia, in 1955. He enlisted in the army in 1975, knowing that it meant he could provide for his young family. Mr. Laxton's first unit was the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) (LdSH(RC)) an armoured unit in Calgary. His first UN posting was to Egypt in 1978/79 where he was promoted to MCpl. In 1984 he went to the Mapping and Charting Establishment (MCE) and trained as a topographical surveyor and obtained a specialty in Terrain Analyst. In 1994 Mr. Laxton led the first terrain team to the tactical level when deployed with the Canadian contingent of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Bosnia. He served two tours of duty there, 1994 and 1995. After leaving the service, Mr. Laxton settled in Whitehorse, Yukon, where he is currently employed by the Territorial government as a GIS specialist.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
David Laxton
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Lord Strathcona's Horse
Armoured Crewman Terrain Analyst / Topographical Surveyor

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