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Braunstein: ‘I shared fear’, soldier remembers

Captain Alan Vincent recalls the sacrifice of those who lost their lives and those who returned home shattered and suffering from PTSD.

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A primitive-looking Improvised Explosive Device (IED) caught the eye of Canadian Army Captain Alan Vincent as he walked through the Royal Montreal Regiment’s (RMR) Armory Museum, a permanent exhibit, showing the regiment’s history from World War I. Activity is being recorded. Current.

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While in Afghanistan in 2001 with an RMR squadron, an IED came close to capturing Vincent.

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Tragically, near the same location, an IED killed a Canadian soldier who had replaced Vincent shortly after leaving Afghanistan.

Like many other active duty and veterans, Vincent celebrates Memorial Day almost every day, remembering the sacrifice of those who have returned, as well as those who have died in combat and peacekeeping. . The house is shattered and they suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from their experience.

Vincent, 46, considers himself fortunate to have returned relatively unscathed from the military incursions in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Following in his brother’s footsteps, in 1994 he joined RMR. He was sent to Bosnia in 1999 for nearly eight months, and two years later to Afghanistan where he spent seven months.

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Vincent is currently stationed at the 2nd Canadian Division Training Center in St. Hubert and assists all reserve units in Montreal, but his heart and soul will always be with the original RMR trooper. His memory is as vivid as ever.

He was a senior Bosnian corporal and was in charge of civilians working in the camp.

“In Bosnia, I trained for three months before I was deployed, but in Afghanistan, I trained for 18 months before I left. ND G graduate who was doing says. “We all knew we were fighting an unconventional war there, and I really wanted to test my temper. I wanted to see if it was actually in my head.”

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Vincent’s mission was to act as an intermediary between local residents, leaders and military commanders.

“It was about setting goals that were mutually beneficial and working on all kinds of projects. It was a constant concern for the Canadian contingent that it could endanger their lives.

“All our camps were pretty safe, but every time we left camp, everything was unstable. They were easily identifiable as militants because they weren’t walking around in the open, and we were shaking hands with people who climbed trees at night and shot people. We realized it wasn’t the normal concept of war, we had to learn to think on the fly.”

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“In my personal experience, the Canadian people have been very supportive of our military,” says Capt. Alan Vincent of the Royal Montreal Regimental Armory at Westmount.
“In my personal experience, the Canadian people have been very supportive of our military,” says Capt. Alan Vincent of the Royal Montreal Regimental Armory at Westmount. Photo by Dave Sidaway /Montreal Gazette

158 Canadian soldiers have died while serving in Afghanistan.

“No close friends were killed there, but I can say with 100% accuracy that many of them were victimized in their heads because of what they saw and experienced,” says Vincent. increase. “PTSD is a real casualty of war for so many people, no matter what their training. I guess.”

One of those scares alludes to his IED experience. During a patrol one night, his unit found two of his gunmen digging a dirt road and planting IEDs. The militants fled after being spotted.

“When we came to the area with the disposal team, one of the Afghan National Police who was with us came over and started looking at me strangely. I pointed out that the place was darker than anywhere else, and even with all my training I didn’t notice it,” Vincent recalls. “Then they brought in a dog that smelled of explosives. I didn’t, so I’m still alive.”

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Canadian forces withdrew from Afghanistan in 2014 and American forces withdrew last year. Needless to say, with the Taliban now in control, many are outraged that their services seemed pointless.

“Of course, looking back at what we’ve accomplished while we were there, it’s heartbreaking to think that we’ve accomplished it all, but if you go in today, there’s nothing we’ve accomplished. I try to be positive that the fighting was going on and that there was a positive impact that lives were saved and the quality of life of many people improved while they were there. We injected funds into the community,” says Vincent, noting that there was a different, more aggressive mindset when American soldiers moved to camps in Kandahar after their departure. pointed out.

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Over the past few years, Canadian veterans have often lamented that civilians do not seem to understand and appreciate efforts to serve their country. But Vincent feels things have changed from his point of view.

“In my personal experience, the Canadian people have been very supportive of our military. I am always grateful,” says Vincent, a father of two.

“But do they really understand what we are doing and going through? ”

Overview: The Royal Montreal Regimental Armory Museum, located at 4625 Ste-Catherine St. W., is open to the public from 10am to 6pm on Memorial Day Fridays and from 12pm to 4pm on November 12 and 13 It has been. Admission is free. For more information, please visit rmrmuseum.com.

bbrownstein@postmedia.com

twitter.com/billbrownstein

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Braunstein: ‘I shared fear’, soldier remembers

Source link Braunstein: ‘I shared fear’, soldier remembers

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