Reading Time: 3 Minutes
SCOTT CASEY CURRENT PRESIDENT OF MILITARY MINDS
EXCERPT FROM CFJC NEWS:
KAMLOOPS — It’s been a five-year wait for Scott Casey to read a hard copy of his new book, Ghostkeepers — a term he uses to describe the horrific memories he and his UN commrades still hold onto nearly 25 years after the civil war in the former Yugoslavia.
“We all harbour ghosts from that tour,” says Casey. “So it seems like a very fitting term in that we are ‘ghostkeepers.’ We can’t get rid of them. They’ll always be with us. We just have to deal with it.”
Casey, and many of his fellow UN peacekeepers, cope with some form of post-traumatic stress disorder thanks to that tour, which lasted two years from 1992 to 1994.
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He witnessed things many people could never even dream about, including a memory of a mother and her two children being shot in plain sight by a sniper.
Those kinds of stories are all in the book, as Casey hopes to reveal the grim realities of being on the frontlines.
“They’re heart-wrenching, but it’s the reality,” says “I don’t hold back, no. It was very difficult to write them. Some parts took me days and days to get a couple of paragraphs down, because I had to relive it over and over and over again. I hope that through that, I’ve created, as terrible as it sounds, I hope I’ve created a horrible portrait of what it was like.”
For casey, first under the impression he would be a peacekeeper for the United Nations, it took no time for that so-called ‘peaceful’ mission to turn violent.
“When you’re being shot at, and you know you have to return fire, that whole image of peacekeeping goes right out the window. You are now in a tactical situation, and you deal with it accordingly.”
But that combat experience had devastating effects on Casey and his fellow peacekeepers. Every member of the group has PTSD, some who go through insufferable pain they simply cannot deal with.
Casey has lost a dozen comrades since the tour.
“I dedicate the book to my dear friend Rick Lougheed. He was known as ‘Ranger.’ He took his life in 1999,” he says. “It devastated all of us, because he was such a solid and caring and loving guy.”
In the years it took him to write the book, Casey says it was difficult digging up all the painful memories, including the suicides and suffering that followed the tour.
But he also says putting those memories on paper was therapeutic.
“Through the repetitive storytelling to myself, it definitely helped me deal with it, because I had to face each event continuously until I got it down. So it was very cathartic in that regard.”
Casey hopes through this book, people gain an appreciation for what soldiers go through. He also hopes other soldiers who read it can start on their path to healing.
“The story will let guys know they can come forward,” says Casey. “There’s more to your life than your military career, and if it means leaving it to survive, then make the call. Break the silence and save yourself. We’re here as brothers to take care of each other.”
excerpt from Scotts book GHOSTKEEPERS,
It was a Nation exploding into civil war. In 1992, the collapse of the former Yugoslavia triggered an international armed conflict that would last more than 3 years and eventually see nearly 100,000 people killed. Canadians were thrown into what was declared a peacekeeping mission, but it wasn’t. They were going well beyond the rules of engagement that were provided by the UN. Told by Scott Casey, Former Canadian Peacekeeper.
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