Twitter: #marchtothetop

A Soldier's Perspective: Peter Burcew

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My unit were in Kandahar and had just come back from patrol when I heard the news. We have a computer system that tells us if something bad has happened in our region. We could see that there had been an incident in Thalukan that involved Canadian soldiers and that one of the soldiers was a Priority A, meaning the soldier needed immediate medical attention or he/she would die within hours.

I just had that sixth sense. I didn't even know that men could feel that kind of stuff. I told my sergeant, "I feel it's Frank."

My sergeant looked at me and said, "You're right!"

It's strange, but I knew as soon as he told me that, that Frank was all right, that he was going to make it, because I just couldn't imagine myself carrying his coffin up the ramp into the plane back to Canada.

When I got a call from headquarters saying that he was OK, that all his limbs were there and that he wasn't missing anything, I was so relieved.


I called him in on his return to Quebec and he sounded strange because his vocal strings were partially cut. It didn't sound like Frank at all, but by the way he was joking, I knew that he was the same old Frank I'd always known. I didn't know then that he would be how he is today; that his voice would come back, that he'd be walking and could join an expedition like this. At that time, if you had asked me if he could climb a 6000-metre like Island Peak, I would have said, "obviously not."

Frank had a few close calls when he was younger, so when I got on Facebook, I wrote to him and said, "You know what Frank, you didn't die with the bikers, you didn't die in the motorcycle accident and you're DEFINITELY not going to die from a Pakistani suicide bomber!"

Then I added, "By the way. Welcome to the Suicide Bombers Club!" because I was hit in 2006.

Frank is like my brother and I'm going to be with him all the way to the summit of Island Peak...even if I have to carry him!


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