Soldier’s cry for help

By IAN ELLIOT Kingston Whig-Standard KINGSTON, Ont.
Tue. Apr 28 – 6:42 AM

WHEN SAMUEL SMITH was deployed to the former Yugoslavia in 1997, it marked the end of his military career, not the beginning of another chapter in it.

While serving on the peacekeeping mission, he developed sleeping disorders, nightmares about his infant daughter who died of a rare heart condition and a mysterious ailment that put him in a Sarajevo hospital for a month.

He was branded a malingerer within his unit and developed a cocaine habit after being medically returned to Canada in mid-tour. So haunted by what he had seen, Smith slept in his car and under bridges because he didn’t feel safe indoors.

He staged a suicide attempt to try to get the help that he knew he needed. He didn’t get it.

His once-promising army career ended with him being marched to the gates of CFB Petawawa by military police with his belongings in a garbage bag. He received one final order: “(Expletive) off and don’t come back.”

These days, what Smith was suffering from is recognized as post-traumatic stress disorder. Smith has just won a lawsuit against the Canadian Forces, one of more than two dozen filed by a Quebec City lawyer who argued that the former soldiers were ignored, discriminated against and refused help for conditions they came down with while on active duty.


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