Veteran Stories:
Shannon Matechuk

Army

  • Call sign Tango One Four as part of a guard/roadblock on the only usable bridge en route to Matabaan from Belet Uen, Somalia. The guards on the bridge were put in place as local Somalis were attempting to destroy and dismantle it. 1st Lieutenant Shannon Matechuk is at the rear. April 25, 1993.

    Shannon Matechuk
  • Aftermath of a riot at a food distribution site in Balen Bale, Somalia. Note the white mine tape from the tank forming a perimeter while 4th Troop, A Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons ensures security. May 11, 1993.

    Shannon Matechuk
  • Personnel exiting an armoured vehicle during route clearance east of Balen Bale after E12D struck a landmine. Somalia, April 11, 1993.

    Shannon Matechuk
  • Landmine crater about 3 feet wide and 1 1/2 feet deep, which blew the right wheel off a Bison armoured vehicle. April 11 1993.

    Shannon Matechuk
  • 4th Troop, A Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons in front of a Cougar armoured vehicle in Matabaan, Somalia. January 20, 1993.

    Shannon Matechuk
  • Presentation of Somalia Medal to Captain Shannon Matechuk (left) by Lieutenant-Colonel G. Roberts at Canadian Forces Base North Bay, four and a half years after the mission OP DELIVERANCE. September 21, 1997.

    Shannon Matechuk
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"During the time there we concentrated mainly on getting the warring factions - the local warlords - to disarm and cease hostilities. We escorted humanitarian relief convoys to local villages where there were signs of famine in the local population."

Transcript

My name is Captain Shannon Matechuk. I'm originally from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and I joined the Canadian Forces in June of 1987. I attended RMC, graduated in 1991, and was subsequently posted to the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Petawawa. I'm an armoured officer by trade, and have been for the last eighteen years.

During my first regimental tour with the Dragoons in Petawawa, I had the opportunity to deploy on Operation Deliverance, which was the humanitarian assistance given to the people of Somalia in the Somali Democratic Republic. I deployed over with A Squadron, which was a Cougar squadron, in January of 1993, and I returned in May of 1993 after four and a half months of being deployed.

During the time there we concentrated mainly on getting the warring factions - the local warlords - to disarm and cease hostilities. We escorted humanitarian relief convoys to local villages where there were signs of famine in the local population. At the same time, we forcefully disarmed some bandits. Did raids of households looking for weapons, caches, mines, etcetera. As well, we did some reconstruction of schools, wells, buildings, infrastructure.

And interesting highlight was the first time I was ever shot at, which was over there. There was an international Red Cross worker and an interpreter that came to our observation post just outside of Matabaan. We ended up - myself and my crew - mounting a Cougar and driving into the town to double-check on this supposed capture of this international Red Cross humanitarian vehicle, which was carrying supplies such as cooking oil and grain. It was confirmed that this vehicle was in fact hijacked from a convoy, and we located where the stores were taken. We dismounted to go and check out the building. We didn't see any armed individuals standing around, but unfortunately just as we were starting to approach on the ground a shot rang out. I asked the interpreter approximately how many people had supposedly hijacked this truck - it was given to me that there were about ten individuals - at which time a second shot rang over our heads. We decided to backtrack to the Cougar, of course. I jumped up on top of the Cougar inside, and in the meantime two more shots rang out. And the fourth one... my crew indicated that it probably hit the vehicle but we didn't find signs of that actually happening. I gave a fire order with the machine gun to lay-on the individuals. We searched for them, couldn't see them. Then I was going to fire some warning shots and of course the GPMG - which is the General Purpose Machine Gun - malfunctioned, which was quite common for that armament. As a result I gave the order for us to get out of the town. So we reversed, got out of the town, and it took us about ten minutes before we got the GPMG working again.

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