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Limitations with Rules of Engagement

Heroes Remember

Limitations with Rules of Engagement

If you’re talking about rules of engagement, I’m going to say that’s the most frustrating thing there possibly can be. As a soldier, you’re trained to kill. I mean let’s face it, we’re not, what I did for a living basically was to become a soldier. You train how to kill people. It doesn’t matter with a knife, with a gun, with a bomb, with a mortar, with a rocket, with a grenade, that’s what you train to do. You’re trained to kill people. And then you put yourself in a situation where you are there to aid people, to help people and to protect them. Now it was tough because protecting them was never easy because again a lot of the times the threats over there were from somebody that was either hiding, whether it be a sniper or whether somebody is shooting at you from afar with a mortar, with a rocket, so we never got to see these people. We never got to see up close to them and when we did see them up close, basically we had to take them yelling and screaming at us, what have you, and you had to kind of back down, you had to withdraw into yourself and say, you know what I’d love to sit here and argue with you or fight, but I can’t, because I’m wearing a blue beret. I have to, you know, I have to respect the fact that I’m a Canadian soldier. I’m under the United Nations flag and I have to respect that. It does make it very, very tough. Everything we did over there was reactive, it was never pro-active. We could never make that first shot. We could never make that first kill. So we had, everything that happened, if somebody shot at us, we had to make the decision, okay where is this coming from? Can we see the guy, cause we can’t actually shoot at anything if we can’t see it. You know, it’s a never ending, it’s like a ghost basically. You go there, you want to help everybody. You really, really do. It’s in your heart, in your head, in your mind. It’s a Canadian thing, you want to help everybody, but you can’t. And, you know, through being tormented by the soldiers over there, and the goings on, and having to hold yourself at a higher esteem, at a higher level all the time, you know you had to be the bigger man per say, I guess you could say, you always had because you were wearing the Canadian flag on your uniform and people respect the Canadian flag. That’s not saying that everybody there did, but amongst yourselves, amongst the other soldiers from the many, many countries we were always considered the top dogs there and that’s the way it was and I think it still is even to this day, no matter where we are in the world.

Mr. Ott speaks about the frustrations in dealing with certain rules of engagements while trying to protect the local people.

David Ott

Mr. David Ott was born January 26, 1968 in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Fresh out of high school, Mr. Ott made his decision to join the military and entered battle school. The military way of life held a fascination for him and after being in army cadets for 6-7 years prior, it was an easy decision to choose army as his branch of service for active duty service. He joined The Royal Canadian Regiment and held rank of Corporal. Mr. Ott took his basic training in Petawawa, Ontario and after six months there, travelled to Germany for additional preparation. In 1992, Mr. Ott was part of the contingent of soldiers to arrive in the besieged city of Sarajevo for the purpose providing humanitarian aid and medical supplies, as well as reopening of the airport and for this received an honour, Commander-in-Chief Unit commendation. Mr. Ott made the decision to leave the military shortly after this tour.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
David Ott
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Regiment

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