SHILO, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Sep 13, 2013) - Serving and retired members of the Canadian Army gathered today at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Shilo for a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Medak Pocket.
The Battle of Medak Pocket, which occurred in September 1993, is a significant moment in Canadian military history. Canadian and French peacekeepers defended their position against Croatian forces, making it possible to stop the escalation of violence in the region. The Canadian battle group that deployed to Croatia was structured around the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, currently based at CFB Shilo, and included a large number of reservists from other units.
"Canada is proud to recognize the devotion of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and reservists from other units for their role in the Battle of Medak Pocket," said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. "It is appropriate that we take the time to recognize these soldiers and the contribution they made to bringing stability to the Balkans. It is also important to acknowledge Croatia's hard work since that era to become a valued and trusted member of the Euro-Atlantic community, a NATO ally, and most recently a member of the European Union."
Mr Ted Opitz, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre, attended the ceremony in Shilo to represent the Government of Canada.
"It is an honour to be able to personally show my gratitude for the efforts of our men and women in uniform who serve our country and the cause of peace," said Mr. Opitz. "I am also particularly impressed by the contributions of the reservists, who comprised a significant part of the battle group during the Battle of Medak Pocket. They were citizens with everyday civilian jobs who chose to volunteer to go overseas and serve our country."
The Battle of Medak Pocket marked the first time that a Canadian battalion had mounted an operation of that size against armed resistance since the Korean War. For its courage and professional execution of its duty during the battle, the 2nd Battalion was awarded the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation in 2002 by then Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
"The Canadian peacekeepers present at Medak Pocket did not expect to participate in an outright battle, but their courage and training for a wide range of scenarios enabled them to adapt to challenging circumstances," said Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, Commander of the Canadian Army. "Their unwavering commitment and professionalism helped them fulfill their mission."
In addition to the ceremony in Shilo, activities to commemorate the Battle of Medak Pocket also include an exhibit of the Bosnia Memorial Stones at the Military Museums of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta.
For further information, please see the following Backgrounder on The Battle of Medak Pocket.