In September, 1999, Les Brauner was 23 years old and had a year of training under his belt in Kingston, Ontario as a radio operator.
Then the call came, and within a matter of days he shipped out with the rest of his unit to an isolated area of Bosnia near the Croatian border. He was part of the NATO peacekeeping corps assigned as part of the stabilization force, whose job it was to maintain a fragile peace established just a few years earlier.
It was the first time he’d been out of Canada. He was excited, but also very nervous; not knowing what to expect.
What he found was a war-torn country that was slowly rebuilding from years of unbelievable violence.
“For most of the 20th Century, Bosnia was part of a communist country called Yugoslavia,” said Brauner in a presentation to students at Valley Manor School in Martensville during a Remembrance Day service on Wednesday, November 8. “Over the years, long-standing ethnic, political and religious differences between the different populations who had lived there for centuries created an environment of distrust and led to an unstable situation.
“In the early 1990s, violent conflict between the groups broke out, as they wanted to split and form their own countries. Continue reading “Veterans relate experiences during their tours of duty”