United Nations Operations in Somalia 1992 - 1993
Camp Holland, Matabaan, Somalia was the base camp to A Squadron from 1 January to 1 June 1993. Named after Sgt Holland of Lelietontein tame, this small group of tents encircled by concertina wire quickly became home. The CO of the Battle Group had assigned Zone 4 of the Canadian Humanitarian Relief Sector (HRS) to A Squadron and we quickly realized how large a task we were faced with. Once we had established Camp Holland, we became the most northerly deployed element of the coalition, some 390 km from Mogadishu and 90 km from Belet Heun and the rest of the Battle Group.
Our primary mission was to provide security for humanitarian relief operations. Our secondary tasks included arms control and supervision of factional activity. Zone 4 presented some unique challenges to this mission. We initiated a reconnaissance of the zone with mounted patrols that became a mapping and charting exercise, because close to half of Zone 4 was uncharted. Then we established two semi-permanent OPs to monitor the various factions. OP Antrim in Balen Balle was over 90 km to the northeast and OP Angus in Guri Ceel over 50 km to the east of Matabaan. Each troop became proficient at long range patrolling and living in isolation. Contact with the rest of the Squadron was limited to HF radio and the SSM's resupply every 48 hours. Life in the OPs was mostly routine, yet almost daily some event such as vehicle searches, striking a land mine, mass casualties at an overturned truck, capturing an Rhiopian patrol, or negotiations at the main gate would present new challenges to test the soldiers' skills and courage.
Humanitarian relief was our "raison d'etre" in Somalia and A Squadron had its share of convoy escorts and relief aid distribution. Other initiatives such as rebuilding schools, reconstitutir,g the police force, maintenance support to well generators and first aid clinics ensured that we had little time left for anything else. The deployment also had its lighter moments and the troops became quite ingenious at finding diversions. The golfers in the squadron got the itch and so the Red Sands Golf and Country Club was born and soon expanded to a full 18 hole mini-putt. Other notable diversions were the Matabaan Enquirer and Bailey Bridge Jumping, however there were no challengers after the LO's one and only stellar attempt. Mail call, R and R and two weeks leave to Canada became the most prized moments for everyone during the tour.
In May, we finally received the official orders for redeployment and there was much rejoicing. A company of Nigerians arrived on 25 May for a handover and we began our move to Mogadishu on 1 June. The last flight arrived on 10 June and the Squadron had a final bash just before we departed for some well deserved leave.
Several awards were presented to members of the Regiment for outstanding service work while deployed on Operation Deliverance;
Capt. Moreau: Mentioned In Dispatches
Sgt. Clarke: Meritorious Service Medal
Cpl Leblanc: CDS Commendation
Despite the bad publicity from this operation the Regiment served with distinction throughout it's tour.