Language selection

Rules of Engagement

Heroes Remember

The rules of engagement, they don't, I'd actually never even heard of the term until my first tour because the rules of engagement normally are just find the enemy, kill them and there's no, no ifs, ands or buts so it's just, was never dwelled on. It wasn't until we were about to go overseas on a UN tour that, that I'd even understood the rules of engagement at all and they were, I remember they brought out some paper work and it was a big stack of paper work like this, said, "These are our rules of engagement," and we boiled it down to a card, a card about this big, with very fine printing and even that was written on both sides. And, you know, even that was too much to read and if you're under contact, like some guys taped them to their rifle butts, but you know whose got, if you're being shot at you're not going to be reading a card. You have to know it and even, even as, as pared down as we could make it, it was still way too complicated and, and you know and that's, that's what we had and they were, and they were changing also. They weren't fluxed, they weren't written in stone and they'd always say, you know they'd change a word here and there and you know, you change one word and everything's different, you know, it's the nature of these things. It's like a legal contract, you know, you change one word and that's the whole, the whole, the whole meaning is different. So that was my first real experience with the rules of engagement and, and we were, and then the, I think one of the, the big things I took away from that is we were called a protection force, UNPFOR was a protection force, but we didn't have the rules of engagement to protect anyone. We could only protect ourselves and, you know, that, that came into play in my tour, hugely, you know, it's such a difference because we were suppose to go over there as a protection force with, that's what we were supposed to do was go in there and kick some ass and protect everybody, but that's not what we did. That's not how it turned out. I mean the rules of engagement were on everybody's minds because it, it really affected your, your time over there. I was on a, on an OP. We'd, we'd basically set up an OP on a vehicle and on a defensive position and it was, it was down in, in, well we, we called it Serb Hell Croatia at the time, it was on the Serb side, but it was near the border with Croatia and there was a lot of, there was a lot of back and forth and there was a lot of action going on in that area. And I was on OP, basically in a, my vehicle was in a hold down position. Which is like a dug out, so that the vehicle is basically covered and only the top sticks out and we had, we had night vision set up on top of it and I was observing. There was basically a cops of woods to my front and you know some, some houses off to the side, some farm yards. And that was basically what I was observing and then there was, I could hear a lot of shooting in there and the shot reps, you know, sent in shot reps, that was fine it was wild and then I could hear screaming and I could hear, I could hear, I could hear screaming constantly and then boom, you'd be shot and then it'd be quiet and then it would start up again and it was different voices. It was different people and it really bothered me and I, I reported it and it was the middle of the night. I was the only one awake at the time and I, I woke up my, my section 2IC and he reported it into the, again and basically there was nothing we could do about it and it was reported back, "Yeah, stop sending this reports in. We know about it. There's nothing we can do," and that's it. And it just carried on and it was terrible. I have, I still have nightmares about it to this day, but it's, the rules of engagement really let us down and let, let the people down over there and I, I think we should have never been put in that position. I mean we should never be, if we don't have the means necessary to protect we shouldn't even be there.

Mr. Grossinger talks about rules of engagement and how they affect you in a dangerous area. He tells how the rules of engagement did not help when all he could do was sit back and listen to screaming then a shot. How the rules let him down and the people.

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)

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: