A picture taken of me (Captain Terry Hunter) on 16 Dec 2008 near Nanyangachor in the South of Sudan . I was deployed as a UN Military Observer in the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) from Aug 2008 to Feb 2009.
I joined “A” Sqn of the PEI Regiment on 18 April 1977 rising to the rank of Warrant Officer and then commissioned from the ranks to Lieutenant. On 02 September 1987, I entered in to the Regular Force Direct Entry as aTraining Development Officer. Almost 40 years after first joining the Reserves, I am still serving in Uniform.
In Dec 2008, I was part of a convoy of UN vehicles that did a 6 day long range patrol over 1000 km of the worst roads and stream beds imaginable. We made UN history by travelling the furthest to the East of any Patrol in the UN Mission in Sudan and reached the Ethiopian border. During that time, we had no radio contact with our base in Torit and had to rely on Satellite phones with we often could not receive a signal from. We packed our own canned food and water for the trip. We prepared ourselves the best we could as we knew we had to be self-sufficient for the entire Patrol. With the temperatures reaching 50C, taking a drink of our water was akin to that of getting a drink out of a hot water tap.
There were no Sudanese Police and no Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) that far East but we had received reports that there were elements of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) operating in that area. We encountered the Taposa tribe who looked like the natives you would see in a National Geographic magazine. Many of the locals were armed to protect their vast cattle herds. Seeing the starving children was the hardest and I must have given away half of my food to them on that patrol.
It was the first time that many of the children had seen a White person in their life and several would touch my arm and then look to see if the white came off on their hands. I had packed my bagpipes for the trip and often played for the locals when we stopped at one of the many villages we encountered. It was probably the first time in recent history that bagpipes had been played in this area of the Sudan. By the looks on the locals’ faces, I’m sure they were wondering why this White guy was torturing a bag of cats.
After 6 days of travelling and interacting with the locals, we returned to our base camp where we had left the Bangladesh soldiers who were our Protection Force. Their vehicles would not have made the patrol due to the rugged terrain. I dismounted from my vehicle and Piped in our six vehicles to the applause of our Bangladesh Protection Force who were happy to see our safe return. As each Patrol vehicle went by, I saluted the Crew Commander signifying the end of a long, difficult but successful Patrol. The picture was taken by our Japanese Electoral Officer who was travelling with the convoy.
The next day, 17 Dec 2008, we made the return drive, along with our Bangladesh Protection Force, to our Teamsite at Torit, South Sudan.
Photo Credit: Norimasa Tochibayashi
Written by: Capt Terry Hunter