Speaker Bio:
Gary Silliker

Speaks:

English

Speaking Topics:

Remembrance, Cold War, Peacekeeping, NATO operations, conflict in Afghanistan, Technology

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I joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a reservist infantryman in 1969, transferred to the Regular Force of the Canadian Military Engineers (CME) in 1972 and transferred back to the reserve component of the CME in 2003. I was trained and employed in mechanical systems and attained the rank of Master Warrant Officer before accepting a commission to be come an construction engineering officer.

For 8 years, during the Cold War, I was involved in air and undersea surveillance operations. I was part of a 2-man mobile repair team in the Sinai desert in 1978 (UNEF II). In 1997 I was part of a 6-man Canadian team sent to Bosnia to work with the UN Mine Action Center for Bosnia Herzegovina in humanitarian demining operations (Operation Noble). I was the engineer officer in Camp Mirage, UAE, (Operation Apollo) in 2002-03 providing/construction faculties to repair/maintain; launch and recover aircraft; and support 500 CF personnel.

I transferred back to the reserve force in 2003 and took up a civilian position with the UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan for 3 years.  I lead a team of reserve engineering personnel on counter insurgency operations in Kandahar province with the R22R in 2009 for 7 months (Operation Athena/Kalay). In 2010 I accepted a civilian position with Agriteam Canada and returned to Afghanistan to conduct government of Canada aid and development projects throughout Kandahar province for 13 months. Finally in 2011, I decided to return to Afghanistan , just one more time, by taking on a military position with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Kabul in charge of camp construction throughout Afghanistan for the Logistics Branch of the Afghan National Army (Operation Attention) . I retired from the Canadian Forces in 2013.

My next adventure was as a team leader for UNICEF South Sudan, where I lead rapid response teams into hostile environments to deliver food and health services.

I have a BA in history and am a Certified Engineer Technologist.  I have written one history book and recently completed the Dallaire Child Soldier Eradication course at Dalhousie University. Since 2005 my wife and I  have visited over 70 Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries in Europe; Thailand/Singapore; Pakistan and Malta. We have also volunteered at Talbot House in Belgium on 5 occasions since 2007.

I am happily living in Mahaone Bay, NS, with my high-school sweetheart wife of over 43 years. We have a daughter and a son and four grandchildren.

The Memory Project includes a community of over 1,500 veterans and Canadian Forces members who are committed to sharing their stories of service.

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