12. Now here was a shock…

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Now here was a shock…. It was full of half dressed little Black men! Normally in any army I’m one of the smallest guys, here were an entire Brigade all smaller and skinnier than me. Not only that, what clothes they had on were rags, if they had any footwear it was decrepit, falling apart takkies or slops. As we got closer you could see how young they were. The average age must have been about sixteen. Spread among this sorry lot was a few better-dressed but no less dirty adults. One or two had AK’s in each group and quite a few had a weird looking rifle, which I learned was an ancient model called a G3. G3 in army medical lingo means unfit for duty, a small piece of irony that was not noticed by many.  On the side of the parade ground was a large tent with all the paraphernalia of an Ops room. In the tent were a few fatter, but not much, well dressed {in uniform} black soldiers. They were listening intently to what two whites Executive Outcomes chaps were telling them. Well, I just stared in surprise.

Training Days


First the Mortar Training crew, this consisted of the lawyer, two other men, our interpretator or ‘talks’ as they were known. He being ex 5 Recce, a Black man that could blend well with the environment so was always MIA (Missing in Action), normally to the Cuca (local shop) or the whorehouse. Later these ‘talks’ would prove to be a huge security risk for this reason. This mixed bag moved further up from the main parade ground passing other groups that were trying to sort out their own troops, who did not look like troops at all. If one goes to a half way house for Street Children in Hillbrow they would find healthier better-dressed children. In a clearing we found our own trainees.  From the FAA {Force de Arma Angola, or something.} side we were blessed with a little combat veteran all of 20 years old, srg. Ze. With the ‘talk’ MIA and Ze not speaking a word of English we managed with sign language and drawings in the sand. Ze was extremely quick to catch on what was needed and carried out orders with great enthusiasm. A bonus was his troops might have been even more scared of him than us!


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