Preparations before Shipping Out

Heroes Remember

Preparations before Shipping Out

Transcript
Interviewer: And I wanted to ask you another question and this was prior to when you went there, probably the first time to Riyadh, did you need to undergo a lot of preparation? Inoculations... Yes, we did. I'd never deployed that much in that type of theatre with strictly Canadian Forces but being in the Canadian Forces with the Americans, we'd a, we had to follow pretty much what they did. Your arm gets about that big because you've received so many needles before you go from it. And the briefings just go on forever. Everything, they are so thoroughly prepared before they go and I assume that the Canadian side of it is as well. You're given lengthy briefings on the culture, lengthy briefings on how they expect you to behave when you are downtown. The ladies you know specifically what they are expected to wear and what the reaction is going to be if they don't wear that. The different security that is in the country for our security to help us in our, safeguarding our own lives if you will. But the briefings just go on and on and on, so you're pretty well prepared when you go there knowing what to expect. And medically of course you're well prepared as well because of all your needles and your vaccinations and they do your little foot print and do your DNA so that if something does happen to you that they can identify the remains at least on what it is, extremely well prepared before you go. Most impressive, which, the one thing that we weren't quite prepared for when we got there was, just as you drove into Escon village originally until we complained so loudly they got rid of them were all the caskets. They had all, a field full of caskets lined up and body bags and what not. Not really the thing that you want to see when you drive in or drive out, just before you go doing a mission or as you're coming back from a mission and eventually they were moved to a more hidden location which was, kind of, gets your attention when you first drive in that this is a pretty serious thing that's going on here, and we could be in one of those things.
Description

Mr. Johnston recalls the extremely high level of pre-conflict preparations he went through with the Americans before being deployed to the Gulf as part of a joint AWACS force.

Alonzo Johnston

Mr. Johnston first served with the HSR cadets in Sussex, NB, and joined the regular forces before finishing high school. He joined the air force, but transferred to the navy after his trade as a data processor was closed and contracted out to civilians. In 1981, Mr. Johnston returned to the air force as an air weapons controller, commissioned from navy ranks. After a promotion, Mr. Johnston was posted in Bangor, then Oklahoma with a joint Canadian/American AWACS force. This force was eventually posted in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, where Mr. Johnston served as a mission control commander on Northern Watch and Provide Comfort missions. In 1996, Mr. Johnston was reassigned to North Bay, Ontario, where he remained until his retirement in 2002.

Meta Data
Medium:
Video
Owner:
Veterans Affairs Canada
Duration:
02:43
Person Interviewed:
Alonzo Johnston
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Branch:
Air Force
Rank:
Major

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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