Missing in Action: A rescue story


Gerard Arsenault

A bomb whistled by. "Take Cover!" Roared Capt. Armistead as he jumped out of the G-Wagon and got behind it. Lt. Waldon who was also in the vehicle leapt out and dove behind just as the bomb exploded on the ground next to the vehicle. Gunfire erupted coming from the ridge on the other side of the road.

Capt. Armistead radioed in to the base yelling, "We got hostiles firing at us from across the road, requesting back-up sent!"

He then turned to Waldon and shouted, "OK you stay here, use your pistol if you have to, I'm going to check up with my men and see if we can get the situation solved!"

"Yes sir!" said Waldon, though he wondered if he could film this encounter as he was going to be the Public Affairs Officer for the base, and it would do good to capture some film and show his talent for filming.

One of the other trucks in the convoy started firing its .50 calibre machine gun towards the ridge, creating a cloud of dust in the sand, and the other soldiers started firing. Lt. Waldon crept from behind his vehicle, and got behind a rock and turned on his camera. He then decided that it would be even better if he could get a side view of the skirmish, where he would be far away from the battle to avoid getting hit but also get a good view for his camera. Once he got to the position the gunfire stopped and it appeared the hostiles were driven back. Waldon saw that the gunfire had ended, picked up his camera and started to get up to go back when he heard a clicking noise behind him. He turned around and saw a man with a beard and a scarf holding a AK-47 at him, and the man shouted some Arabic at him.

Lt. Waldon was captured by the insurgent man and taken to their camp which was made up of a few tents and a couple clay houses. The terrorists brought him into one of the houses which was made into a make-shift jail. The guards put him into a cell and gave him a cup of stale water, then one of the guards left to go see the chief renegade. The guard came back and yelled Arabic and motioned Waldon to get up, and then they placed dusty handcuffs on his hands and took him out of the building and towards the other building.

When they got to the main building they brought him into it and put him before the chief who was sitting on silken pillows.

The chief spoke to Waldon saying, "I see you have brought to prisoner in, well I better introduce myself, I am Abbudin Wasem, leader of this camp. I ask you who are you?"

Lt. Waldon answered saying, "As a member of the military I am subject to the Geneva Convention, which requires that I am qualified as a Prisoner of War, and that I only have to say my name, rank, and service number which are James Waldon, Lieutenant, and X13 355 978."

Abbudin replied and said, "Ha Ha! You try to play jokes to me, but know this, you could make your state of life much better if you could tell me more details like where your army base is and whatnot eh?"

Lt. Waldon answered saying, "I will not betray my unit to the enemy, and I will only say my name which is James Waldon, my rank Lieutenant, and my service number X13 355 978."

Chief Abbudin then said, "Well I thought you might say that and it you wish it to be that way we will just keep you locked up until you wish to say more."

Waldon was then taken back to his cell and locked in. This is unbelievable he thought to himself, like to be all of a sudden captured by the enemy, and put into prison. Well there was nothing he could do about the situation, as escaping was nearly out of the question due to the amount of guards about the camp.

Lt. Waldon was stuck in the prison for nearly two weeks, he assumed that his unit thought that he was dead. Suddenly an array of shouting took him out of his thoughts; the terrorists were running around and grabbing weapons. Waldon asked one of the guards what was happening, that guard replied and said that the base was under attack. Lt. Waldon immediately started think a way to signal the troops. He got a piece of glass and held it up over the window and flashed S.O.S in Morse code over and over, finally one of the soldiers flashed back, Lt. Waldon then said that he was captured by the terrorists and was in prison, the soldier flashed back that they would try to get him out.

Captain Harry Turcot was in command of the unit of soldiers attacking the enemy base; his orders were to drive the hostiles from the base and then set up a base there. A soldier ran up to him, and said, "Sir, we just got a report from inside the hostile base that could mean that one of the our soldiers is being held captive, Sir." Capt. Turcot replied and said, "Thank you for relaying this information soldier, I will look into this matter."

Captain Turcot yelled out a command, "Cease fire on the base! There is a hostage captured inside the base, gather together a rescue team and try to get the hostage out!"

The rescue team composed of six soldiers and Captain Harry Turcot started running towards the nearest building in the base, with the other soldiers firing above them to give them cover. They went on both side of the building and started shooting at the enemy. Capt. Turcot ordered, "I will stay here with two troops and the rest of you will go towards the next building and try to get closer to the hostage! We will give covering fire!"

Lt. Waldon seeing the commotion and the rescue team, kicked down his jail cell door (which was already damaged by the gunfire) and grabbed the door and swung it at the nearest guard who fell down. Then Waldon grabbed his gun and started firing at the guards. He then got behind cover and was spraying bullets at the terrorists when he heard a gun clicking behind him.

He turned around and saw a guard holding a pistol at him, the guard spoke in broken english, "You is to much trouble, we gona kill you." And he lifted up his gun and bang! The guard fell sideways! And stepping in behind him was four Canadian Special Operations Forces members, They said, "Follow us!" And Waldon followed them running back to the allied side amid enemy gunfire.

After they made it back to the base Lt. Walden was promoted to captain for his major assistance in the demolishing of the enemy camp. He also awarded Cross of Valour which was for acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril. Captain Turcot was promoted to the rank of Major for his decisiveness in leading the attack and rescuing a fellow comrade, and was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

Later when after their overseas deployment was over, Major Turcot and Capt. Walden met up to check up.

"How have you been doing Captain Walden?"

"Pretty good sir! How about you?"

"Well life couldn't be better," Major Turcot exclaimed, "And I owe it up to you, after all if you hadn't become captured then I wouldn't have become Major!"

"Ha ha! Well nice catching up with you sir, see you around!" Replied Capt. Walden.

After that the two decorated military men departed and continued on with their own careers.

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