Tribute to the fighting generation part3


Meet 'Johan' Infantry 1987

His first words sums up his whole character...

"i dont throw stones because i live in a glass house if you know what i

mean, got my own enimies within"

It took a long time to get him to trust me enough with just a few

memories. But that what he did tell me... Was shocking heartbreaking and I

had this overwhelming feeling of saying I am sorry for what you have been

through. Was glad i didn't need to see the pain in his eyes or to see how

hurt he was. But his words spoke for him. No big shot mumbo jumbo no hate

just extreme sadness of what he lived through and thousands of others who

still hold up the front protecting the civilians from their knowledge of

the pain of war.



Johan's story:

"First of all i start my army in 1987 in upington to do my basic training,

went to riemvasmaak to do advanced training to survived from the land. Went

to fight in angola for 18 straight months. Came back for 2weeks. Went to

ocikati and caprivi for another 13 months. While there had to witness

terrible things, i dont want to mention it because its to inhuman to

explain. I dont want you to get nightmares. That is one of my biggest

issues in life that still haunt me until this day. Two of my friends were

blown up in front of me, they stepped on a landmine. Scrapnel hit me in my

face and body with some of their body parts,hitting me head on. That is

only a drop in the bucket. Toni i make jokes just to forget for a while. I

cant sleep, i fucking freak out when i hear fire works. But now you know a

little about me, i know i held back even you tried to get me to open up but

im still not ready. There are stil bridges i must cross on my own before i

can open up to you, and only you because i think the others dont know me

like you do. I dont know if you can use some of this but the other stuff is

to cruel to mention. Good night Toinette."



"I wasn't a tiffy i was in the infantry and we had to be on the frontline

where the real shit happened. We took the first bullets and every

thing they can throw at us. I saw and witness things that still haunt me

till this day, young boys bodys ripped apart by bullets and landmines. The

injured and dying cries for help; that look in their eyes knowing they are

not going to make it. The fallen ones lying in bits and pieces. I tried to

bury it and forgot about it but i cant. Its burned into my brain. We had to

pick up the fallen bits and put it into bags so that their family can bury

that was left of them, and we had to do that under fire because 'no one was

left behind' that was out moto. And that Toni is a drop in the bucket the

rest is to cruel and inhuman to tell you, i wish i can share it with you

but you would be scarred for life and you are to special to me. That is a

chapter in my life that i wish i can erase but it will be with me until the

end..."



Questions

"1. First of all i feel that i did my part for my country and my family, i

felt proud to be able to defend it, but nowdays i carry the scars and it

haunt me every single day. Some days are better and some days are a

nightmare.

2. Nor my country or fellow citicens were there for me, all that they said

is now that you were in the army you are a man. They did not know what you

had to do to keep alive or what you witnessed. Or how it felt to be in

crossfire with mates around you begging for help after being shot and

bleeding to death. The look in their eyes knowing they will never see their

loved ones again...

3. Looking back now why did we fight and for what, all those who lost their

lives was all in vein. There is no border these days everyone come and go

as they please, no respect for what is right or wrong, the people are doing

just what they want. Kill and rape as they please and they get a slap on

the hand.

4. In that era it was compulsary to serve your country and there was no way

out except if you were medically unfit or you went to study at a

univercity, but you knew it was just another step in your life that you had

to take and it shaped you or brake you. Some made it and some didn't.

5. Your demons will be with you forever you will never be able to get rid

of them. Now and then you relive the things that you had to participate in

to get the job done. that is when reality kicks in and you know you would

be scarred for life. And the sad part is you dont want to talk about it,

because you dont want to let that person know you shot 1 or 10 human beings

to death, or you are to afraid that they may have nightmares if you tell

them in detail what happened on the battlefield.

6. I really dont think todays kids will be able to cope or handle the same

shit that we had to endure. We lived in another era and todays kids are

more housebound and they will not be able to handle conflict like we did.

They are to dependant on their mom and dad. They sit in the house all day

on their phones or computers. When we were kids we were outside, and if you

dare come inside the house you were be asked if you want to count teeth.

7. I will not say i get angry, more dissapointed because we did what was

expected from us. The army life helped shaped me and make me stronger to

see life more in perspective. Think before you attemped something, looked

at other ways to do something. The army shape me and make me stronger yet

it came with a price.

8. We always knew that some of us will be arriving in a coffin and we were

scared not knowing who its going to be. But we were open about about it and

before we went out on patrols we always but always left a goodbye letter on

our beds. Not knowing who will come back and who will not.

Lastly i would say to todays youth: respect you parents, i know if i had to

give my life to safe my parents i will do it with pleasure. I think todays

kids dont apprecaite their parents enough they rather see them as walking

ATM's. But they must remember one day their parents will be gone forever

and then it is when they will know and think why didn't they treat them

other wise. They must know that what we did was for everybody's safety it

was a act of love and we will gladly do it again no matter what."



Author James F.Dunnigan points out that the infantry, by definition, takes

the brunt of the fighting, "it's always been that way... and this won't

change."

In 1 SAI wil ek bly,

dis die eenheid net vir my,

slaggereed en kommer vry,

met ons ratels veg ons ver,

onder die al en suider ster 1 SAI Bataljon,

1 SAI! Servire, servire, servire parati is ons lese as jy vra, 1 SAI

Bataljon, 1 SAI!

From the shores of Cape Agulhas,

to the Northern bushveld trees,

We will fight our countries battles,

in the air, land and sea,

We will fight for right and freedom,

we will keep our honesty,

We are proud to claim the title of the 'Mechanised Infantry'.

^ "Fact file: 1 SA Infantry Battalion". DefenceWeb. 1 March 2010. Retrieved

3 June 2012.

Despite this, and the presence of infantry in South Africa from the

earliest times, the infantry only gained a permanent home in the SAIC as

recently as January 1954. Prior to that responsibility for the branch was

passed from pillar to post.

A SA Army recruitment poster notes that the infantry is the nucleus of any

army and as a result it is the largest fighting corps in the SA Army. “The

infantry is expected to attack the enemy under any conditions; this

requires courage, fitness and initiative. In order to attack the enemy with

confidence, weapon training and field craft is the most important part of

training.”

Mission: To close with, and destroy the enemy; to hold or defend ground.

Corps colours: Green and black

Beret colour: Green (motorised, mechanised and light infantry); maroon

(parachute infantry)

Collar badge: Springbok head

Motto: Gladium Practamus (Wielders of the Sword)

Facts from: DefenceWeb Africa's leading defense news portal

Pictures from: Google South African Defense Force

Thank you 'Johan'

Toni 💋


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