On the losing side in 5 wars.
I was Born in Rhodesia and managed to miss most of the bush war except for being blown up in a landmine and getting a chunk from an RPG 7 stuck through my skull into my brain. The 'Dissident' war that opened up 9 months After Mugabe came to power in Zimbabwe (December 1980) was my first 'real war'. There were no winners, only a debate over who lost the most. I was shot at by the North Korean troops propping up the Mugabe regime, and the South African backed 'dissidents' as well as sundry bandits taking advantage of the general lawlessness to make a quick profit. I was mainly working on a Rabies outbreak at the time and this involved working in isolated rural areas usually with only a single companion. Being white, and driving a Government marked vehicle I was fair game for all. The atrocities committed by the Korean led Government troops were beyond belief and they made several determined efforts to kill me so I couldn't take pictures or report to the media what was going on. It was a hard survival school. I also took the opportunity to transfer from the local police reserve into Police forensics. My basic biology degree being deemed what was necessary. I gradually moved more into the forensic ballistics section.
In 1987 peace finally returned and I got on with my Masters degree, but the Rhino war started up the following year. Being a research officer, the actual fighting wasn't supposed to be my job, but when you are losing, any officer who will help is welcome. It was a wasted effort. The poaching was controlled by 8 men, one of whom was the vice president of Zimbabwe and another the Director of the National Parks dept. The Chief Investigations officer for the Dept later proved to be a South African intelligence officer who was fully involved in protecting the poaching operations in the South East of the country. In hind sight it was a war we had lost before we started. I picked up a bullet through the right shoulder, another through the right leg and a couple of bad Phosphorous burns. The price one pays for trying to lead demoralised and pathetically trained troops in any sort of action.
In 1993 I took a 3 month break to go to Somalia with the UN peacekeepers as a forensics' specialist. There was no peace to keep, and that war still drags on.
With the economic collapse in Zimbabwe in 1999 my position as Senior Ecologist at head office was untenable. They simply couldn't have a white man in such a position and after several months of fairly intense harassment I left and went hunting. I took a short break in 2004 to go as a forensic specialist to the middle east...another war without end.
The rapid decline in game populations in Zimbabwe, the influx of illegal operators and the break-down of so much of the infrastructure, as well as getting married and suddenly having a family to think about caused me to accept a post with Norma Precision in Sweden as R&D manager - my first job where you don't need someone or something dead to call it a successful day.