Retired soldier shares his story years later

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A retired Canadian soldier in Airdrie has decided to share his story 25 years after retiring from the Canadian Armed Forces.

David Ward published his first book, The One You Don’t Hear, in August. He said it’s part one of two books he plans to write about his 28 years in the military.

“I took out countless drug lords,” he said. “They go through the mountains of northern Afghanistan with mule trains and they’d have drugs on them and weapons and stuff. It was my job to take some of these people out, so I did that.”

Ward, 71, was born in England, immigrated to Canada at age 17 and joined Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry within a year. He said he had a talent for long distance shooting.

During basic training, members of the CIA were in Canada recruiting shooters and asked if he would work for them, he said. He agreed to work for them as a mercenary and spent roughly five years working as a sniper in the Belgian Congo and later in Afghanistan, which is what book one is about.

“You go out in teams of two – there’s a sniper and a spotter. What the spotter does is get the distance and the windage and a lot of other things that are involved. And then you can set it up on your snipe scope,” he said. “We’d shoot and kill drug lords and blow up airplanes full of drugs and money.”

The book is called The One You Don’t Hear because bullets travel faster than sound so the target doesn’t hear the bullet that kills them, he said.

“It was an interesting career…. I justified killing people by saying, ‘OK, well, if I shoot this guy, it’s going to keep some drugs from reaching the States, Canada or elsewhere in the world,’” he said.

Ward signed a contract when he was 21 years old agreeing he wouldn’t speak of his time in the military for 50 years. As soon as those 50 years were up, he started writing his first book and finished it within 10 months.

“I had to stop every once in a while because of the flashbacks from it. It just bothered me so much that I had to take a break and then I’d go back to it,” he said, adding he is currently writing a fictional novel about space before writing part two of The One You Don’t Hear, which will be about his experience in the Canadian army.

After retiring from the military, Ward went to school for psychology and later retired as a physician assistant. He has lived in Airdrie with his wife Rosaline since 1992. They have three daughters and seven grandchildren.

Ward was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and received a service dog named Barney from Courageous Companions in Winnipeg two years ago to help him cope with it.

“He is a great dog, a great companion and he helps me a lot,” he said. “If I start to feel down, if I feel a little bit distressed, he senses it. He comes, he puts his paws on my chair and puts his paws up on my shoulders and I’ll hug him and I’ll ruffle his coat and talk to him and then he brings me out of it so I don’t sit there all night being bothered by this thought…. He’s there all the time.”

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