September 9th, 1993: Operation Medac Pocket
On September 9th, 1993 UN Peacekeepers of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry stationed in the Medac Pocket region of Croatia were engaged in what would turn out to be a week long fight against ethnic cleansing in the region.
The then sympathized Croatian forces secretly wanted the disputed area cleansed of ethnic Serbs and Serbian forces who opposed their claim as an independent nation. The Canadians at Medac were positioned right in the middle of the fighting.
Determined to stay their ground and protect the civilians, the Canadian UN Peacekeepers were forced to engage the Croatian forces. The 875 members of the 2nd PPCLI later learned that they had faced 2,500 soldiers, tanks and large artillery. Despite a loss of some 27 opposing Croatian soldiers no Canadians were killed.
The determination to hold their ground allowed UN investigators to see firsthand the evidence of ethnic cleansing by the Croatian military. The evidence proved valuable in later war crime tribunals and helped end the fighting through international pressure.
The Canadian 2nd Battalion PPCLI were never given a hero's welcome for their achievements, and were in fact told not to speak about the events of Medac Pocket. The silence was lifted in 2002 when the soldiers were awarded with the Commander-in-Chief's Commendation.