September 1993 – January 1994

127 days in the best PMC to date

After my stint in the military and my two camps which i “was called up for” nod nod wink wink i was back in civilian street and hating it. There were many hard core parties and life at “party central” , the flat i shared with my friend was all cool and stuff with much crazy shit happening and a plethora of women cruising in and out of the place on a daily basis, we were living like man sluts! All in all it wasn’t all that bad really. I had some dreary dead end bull shit job selling filing systems. Like i cared! It was just a salary toward the next piss up and a way into the next woman`s panty( not that i was wearing the panty ). We basically lived at Bella Napoli night club in Hillbrow occasionally visiting the dive around the corner called The Summit Club where chicks were GUARANTEED if you get my drift. One evening we were drinking hard at the bar in the Summit club at” Nero`s bar” and i was certain that my aftershave must have been spiked with aphrodisiac as i was literally surrounded by willing chicks on all sides. It didn’t hit me till a little later that my pal Mark and i were being set up by a Madam sitting at the bar. She had noted the thick payday wallets and despatched her ladies of leisure to set us up for robbery. We were led off by the smell of perfume like the proverbial pied piper to a block of flats in Van Der Merwe street Hillbrow. Unbeknownst to the two scarlet Ho`s was that i had collected my .45ACP 1911A1 hand cannon at the security desk on the ground floor entrance of the summit club while Mark regaled the chicks with all manner of bullshit stories. We arrived on the 8th floor and were led to their flat, we entered to find ourselves confronted by two very large buff Nigerian fellows. It is worth noting that this was before Hillbrow had totally become overrun by the Nigerian hoodlums. The one turned to us and in a heavy accent said “ you gonna give us money man or we gonna fuck you”. The reality suddenly dawned that we had been duped by these two bitches! I recoiled backwards and immediately drew my .45 ACP which no one had anticipated and fired three rounds into the concrete ceiling above me( leaving only six rounds in the weapon) but i didn’t care as i had the definite initiative now. The two bitches dived for cover behind the couch and the shocked Nigerians made a route for the bedroom. Without further ado Mark and i made a “tactical” retreat from the flat and went back to Nero`s bar to compose ourselves over six or so beers. This had been a close call and we weren’t keen on a repeat unless we were firmly in the drivers seat so to speak. It was with this type of ongoing craziness that i met a guy called Gary at our favourite watering hole in the South of Jo`burg called Torino restaurant. He sat there all cloak and dagger and listened to our near escape and piped up if we were interested in working for a company in Angola protecting oil fields? I immediately was interested and wanted to sign there and then, but Mark was more guarded and didn’t want to consider anything crazy as he was dating his future wife. I thought this to be stupid and dilly. The following day Gary phoned me and gave me an address in Randburg near Fountainbleau where i was to meet with his step dad Bryan Westwood who was in charge of signing up logistics personnel. I produced whatever credentials i had and signed a provisional contract there and then. A few days later i went to a house in Centurion and signed the contract and was informed of my Book Number, mine was 32. It was the first of September 1993 and a dude named sergeant Pelser had just made my day. We weren’t entirely sure of exactly where we would be going and the exact amount we would be earning but it was somewhere in the 2000 Dollar region and back in 1993 this was a shit load of money. We found out that we would be working for a guy named Eeben Barlow who was ex military intelligence and most notably ex CCB(civil co operation bureau) and his second in command Lafras Luithing, also ex military and CCB. I didn’t care who i worked for so long as i was paid. I was utilised for a week as a run around as i had my own car and ran errands to and from Lanseria airport and gave lifts to people, i also recruited two of my pals. One was my high school friend Deon who was ex SAP security branch and a childhood family friend Paul George who was able to communicate in Portuguese and was an ex National service signalman. Basically a radio operator, both were signed up in no time. I was booked to fly to Angola first and left about 10 days before Deon. I arrived at Lanseria airport with my old army balsak( duffel bag) and milled around the departure hall with 7 other guys not entirely sure of what to expect or where to go, we tried to simply look mean and all knowing. Our passports were stamped with exit stamps and we boarded a small king air 200 with the registration of N91TR. It was piloted by aviators associated with Crause Steyl and they became fixtures in Cabo Ledo Angola, our new home.it was a cramped 6 hour flight and we landed briefly in Rundu Namibia to refuel, i used this brief stop to quickly go and check out what became of the ops room and the rundu bar and shitingura. I was dismayed at what i found and the destruction of the base disheartened me along with the squatters living in the former ops room where i had so fantastically overdosed accidentally on 30 nivaquine anti malaria tablets. We got aboard the king air and left what was left of a once proud base called air force base Rundu. We travelled out to sea a bit and circled the runway at Cabo ledo Angola once before coming in to land. The landing was bumpy and the runway was overgrown with weeds and had holes in it. We were picked up by two dudes wearing FAA(Forces Armada Angolana) camouflage fatigues and brandishing mean ass beards. They drove us back to our part of the base which was inside the 16th regiment commando base. The first guy i saw other than these two bearded bush Santa Clause types was a buff muscle bound guy wearing a bandanna and what seemed to be tailored cammo pants jogging up the road past the fuel dump. His name was Brett Cleaver and he was known as the best dressed Merc in the world. He had apparently done stunt double work on the Dolf Lundgren film Red Scorpion filmed in South Africa so i suppose it is safe to say “nuff said”. We were taken to the barracks which were a crazy pinkish / salmon colour that had been done by the Cubans and Cabo Ledo was indeed an ex Cuban base that Mig fighters had lauched from to attack South African targets during the bush war. We were officially fighting for our old enemy and being paid handsomely to do so. We thought we were super cool and adopted the “i am meaner than shit” attitude. We were very green in this field and would shortly find out what happens to those that thought they were the bees knees. We were full of very misguided bravado and mouthed off ten to the dozen about just how cool we fancied ourselves to be. There were those that were watching and listening to our bull shit with dismay and would soon exact retribution and discipline us accordingly.

We worked daily packing fresh bottled water from one place to another in what seemed like silly PT with no real value other than pissing everyone off. Our trips to the beach were great and we ran around like tourists splashing and cavorting in the sea. It must have been around the 9th night when the Recce`s had, had enough of our collective nonsense and after many beers they formed a pack and visited our sleeping quarters. I was awoken by a stiff slap to my face right through the mosquito net and i immediately jumped up. This was taken as a belligerent action and i was told that if i raise my arms i will be “fucking killed” quote un quote. I took this advice very seriously and i stood with my arms bent up against my chest while i was given alternative punches to my face. After what seemed like ten a side the recce got pissed off and went berserk and proceeded to throttle the shit out of me banging my head repeatedly against the cupboard. I knew that if i went down they would stomp me to death so i hung in there and tried to remain as upright as possible. Eventually a guy named Wayne Ross Smith walked in brandishing a bayonet and told the two recce`s having a field day with my face that i had, had enough. They moved onto the next bungalow and tramped the shit out the next fellow and so on. On leaving the bungalow one of the recce`s named Rich Nicholl switched the light off and retorted “ have a nice evening gentlemen”, i stupidly replied “thank you”. The light came back on and terror filled my soul! He asked if i was trying to be clever and i assured him in my most calm voice that it was merely a natural response and that i was not trying to be wise. The light went out and the recce`s moved on. I sat on the edge of the bed a leaned forward spitting blood a pieces of teeth. The mosquito`s were going ape shit and it was pointless to try and wave them off, these were persistent mozzies that seemed to form a squadron and dive down at me in waves, it was almost like pearl harbour! If you listened closely you could almost hear the high pitched voices shouting “Tora Tora Tora”. I eventually accepted that i was most likely going to get killed that evening and i lied down to await the inevitable. The recce`s ran around the bungalows stomping their feet and some were throwing what i surmise were detonators that made loud bangs, there were some dudes who could not take this and were openly crying loudly and one guy calling for his mother( and no it was not me) . The recce`s eventually went off and left us alone and in the morning there was a very tense air hanging over the camp. One of the officers that had also received a slap or two had possibly relayed the events back to Pretoria and it wasn’t long before Lafras Luithing who had been in Luanda some 90 odd clicks north was on base to assess the situation. We were all interviewed and the list of those resigning was long. I told them i did not want to resign but i was in excruciating pain and my jaw was fractured. It was decided to fly us all back to Pretoria and take things from there. Lafras drove me to Johannesburg and dropped me off at my dad`s restaurant, my dad was over the moon to meet Lafras and didn’t seem too perturbed that my nose was three times its original size and smeared across the side of my face. Lafras instructed me to meet at the office in Centurion the next day where i would be taken to a dentist and fix a couple of my busted teeth. I knew i was working for the right company and fully trusted those i was employed by. The following day i drove around with Lafras to Midrand and waited while he had a meeting with someone at a house just off the main road, this was all very cool and cloak and dagger. I frequented my favourite watering hole in the evenings and met up with a friend of mine Paul George De Sousa he was signed up as translator and radio man for the company and i spoke to a guy who would also join as a sapper, his name was Loedie Voges. So i now had at least three pals in the deal with me and this was cool in that we had a gang of sorts, my school buddy and ex SAP security branch cop Deon Partridge made up the gang . i returned to Cabo Ledo 7 days after being flown down and on arrival i was greeted by both Rich Nicholl and Simon Witherspoon whose fists i had stopped with my face, they both greeted me and said that i had at least had the balls to return as quite a few of the guys had run like bitches and resigned including Gary the logistics officer named Bryan Westwood`s step son. Bryan was furious at his step son`s sissy boy approach and openly chastised him in conversation. It was Bryan`s stepson i had originally met in the bar and took me off to Bryan`s house in Randburg to apply for the position within Executive Outcomes.

We were issued weapons and life carried on quite nicely without too much drama as we now had our jobs to do and left the chest heaving to those that were duly qualified to do so. The whole beating debacle had come about as a lesson to us to show exactly where everyone fitted into the pecking order and was indeed a necessity. I accept that my bravado and big mouth had gotten my person beaten up and i deserved it. We had to know where we stand and understand the parameters and severity , gravity of the situation we were in as this wasn’t a holiday camp. It was deadly serious work and we were expected to do a job and maintain our professionalism. It wasn’t long before i was transferred to Rio Longa base about 80 or so clicks from Cabo Ledo to clear an area to serve as a heli pad but that never came to fruition as the ground was deemed to uneven and the brush too dense, so we were tasked at digging long drop toilets which i soon became a professional at. There were rumours of mine fields and that in the wet months they basically become “migratory” as the mines shift along with the wet loose soil, how true this is i cannot confirm but i can confirm that there were literally dozens of AP`s (anti personnel mines) lying in the shallow waters on the banks of the river at the bridge. Our arrival at Longa was akin to arriving in a jungle base in “Nam” and it was well, cool as hell. What we noted first was an Angolan soldier being disciplined by the FAA (forces armada angolana) for what we were told was deserting, this sod was strung up by his feet and dangled over the river from the low vehicle bridge, his hands just touching the water. He was obviously told that the crocodiles were going to snack on him and he screamed non stop, this would not have happened as there were literally thousands of FAA troops utilising the river as a big washing and ablution area. This shocked us and equally amused us a bit but it had nothing to do with us so we minded our own business. The long drop toilets were a necessity as there were obviously no facilities in place and we went about this task with much seriousness.( we had a little ditty we sang when walking off to dig the shit holes and went a little like this” hi ho hi ho its off to work we go, with a pick and a spade and a hand grenade, hi ho hi ho”) . One idiot that had just arrived went and took a dump in the unfinished hole while we went to lunch, we were fucking furious and demanded he climb back into the hole and remove his turd immediately ! we were still digging the hole to the at least 5 to 6 foot depth and did not appreciate this big log lying there in all its splendour in the hole we still had to work in. We had dug 4 of these crappers and were adorned with what is known as a “go kart” which is an upturned empty wood weapons case ( the big box that our AK47`s and RPG7`s (rocket propelled grenades) came in. We would cut a neat hole in the top and place the go kart over the hole, sandbag the rim all round and hey presto , a shit house ala king. Every so often we would pour a bit of fuel into the hole and set light to it to “disinfect the contents and kill the stench a bit, one evening i was perched atop the bush throne which we had “built” on the top of a small hill to allow for the stink to bypass the encampment, i was busy turning my daily coil when some FAA soldier got creative with his AK47 and was shooting into the darkness. I could see muzzle flashes over the hill at the FAA camp but i don’t know where this clot was firing all i know is that i immediately cut my loaf off and grabbed my AK47 and was aiming in the general direction of the firing coming from the FAA camp, i had visions of being slotted while sitting on the crapper so i hastened my visit and retreated to the relative safety of tent town. Needless to say i never used that go kart in the evening again! At lunch one day a new arrival who said he was an ex parabat was mouthing off at how mean he was and that the bats were a far superior group to the recce`s and 32 batallion and that he was basically Rambo`s cousin. We knew what was coming and sat there and waited for the inevitable. One of the recce`s strolled over to him and whacked him a shot that put him into lala land, it is noteworthy mentioning that this tool had arrived the day before and was on the plane back home the following day, Some warrior! During the hottest part of the day we would take a siesta to get out of the sapping sun and usually we would conduct basic maintenance on our weapons, on my return after my arse kicking episode i had brought along a comprehensive gun cleaning kit and so i always had a clean weapon. There were four of us billeted in the Chinese army tents and we had steel cupboards between the beds which contained our odds and ends. A new arrival that was ex navy marines (this was not a unit that worked out so good for the South African navy) was regaling us with all his weapons knowledge and Uber coolness forgot to remove the magazine from the AK47 before cycling the weapon in order to remove the dust cover plate and then remove the working parts and rotating bolt. For some unknown reason while he was babbling on, he cocked the AK47 then removed the magazine and squeezed the trigger. The round discharged and the bullet went through the cupboard hitting a can of deodorant and exited the tent between myself and the guy to my right ( i am convinced it was my pal Paul George) . A dust cloud was kicked up and all i could say was” it wasn’t me, my weapon is field stripped”, a nervous laughter broke out but came to an abrupt stop when Blue Kelly a very crazy Aussie sergeant major stormed into the tent and bellowed “ who the fuck did that?!” the culprit immediately fessed up and apologised for his stupidity. Blue retorted in his very own subtle way “ if you ever do that again i will fucking kill you myself!!!” , needless to say we believed him. The navy marine had lost all his credibility with us and we were pleased at his decision to seek another tent to call home. Daily we would all trek up to the training field and observe the FAA receiving training from the recce`s and other instructors, these poor FAA dudes did not know what had hit them and the fact that they were so badly fed by their own commanders didn’t help the situation either. Some were so weak that they could barely run 100 metres without collapsing from exhaustion, needless to say this sad state of affairs was corrected after intervention by the company and decent soldiers were being turned out for service by the EO staff. The Brigadier attached to the FAA was a brutal bastard and i and a lot of the others had no time for this repugnant pig of a man. His approach to discipline was cruel, swift and final. I truly hope this man has met an untidy , miserable and painful end! He was not a good man and i will leave it at that, i amongst others including some of the instructors witnessed his brand of discipline one day on the training field and it was uncouth to put it mildly. Brigadier Viliarano was a pig!!

After a month i was transferred back to Cabo Ledo to carry on doing my job which was as part of the air wing, i was a refueler and marshaller , i also maintained basic flight line safety and conducted very basic runway maintenance. We did not have oodles of material to utilise in repairing holes etc in the runway so we used what ever we could find to fill holes that were considered high priority. My other duties included basic weapons maintenance in the weapons store ( i would clean the weapons of those going on leave), some of the guys had zero respect for the maintenance of their weapons and because of my keenness to maintain my weapon i was duly drafted into cleaning and logging all the rifles. I also stood beat at the boom that was the entrance to our little part of the base within the FAA base which had been a Cuban base previously. This duty started shortly after Rieme De Jager the RSM`s dog Leo was shot by a FAA soldier standing beat at the boom. Riema fas furious and equally heart broken. Leo was no ordinary dog and was part of the company like everyone else. Every morning i was tasked with the important job of dumping our garbage, this i did in the field at the bottom of the base outside the fence line. We were told by a FAA sergeant not to go too far into the field as the Cubans had apparently mined the perimeter of the base years before. We gingerly reversed the Chevy Cheyenne pick up truck into the field and got the local labourer to empty the dustbins over the side of the vehicle. We started to call these garbage runs ‘breakfast at Tiffany`s” as the FAA would always pitch up in numbers to scratch through the rubbish for anything edible. My 24th birthday was coming up soon on the 12th of November and i had secured myself leave time, i boarded the King Air N91TR and was off home for my birthday, i was stoked to be joining my friends for a piss up of note. Deon had already flown down and Paul George was to follow a day after me, our rendezvous would be at a small pizza place called Biella, the bonus part was that Bryan Westwood would also be there as he too was home on pass. After being airborne for about 4 hours the pilots received a call that there had been an accident on the Longa training field and that there were casualties, we were unfortunately too far to turn back and would not have had the fuel to make it back to Cabo Ledo, so we were flown the remainder of the trip which was about two more hours to Lanseria air port. There was no one from passport control to stamp our passports back into the country and we were told by some lesser official type to come back the next day. The air craft refuelled and left same day to collect the injured staff members. We were taken to the house/ office in Centurion and asked to be on “call” the following day when the injured would return. Naturally this would not be a problem and we then went home. I had flown down on the 10th of November which was a Wednesday and it was on Wednesday in Longa that an accident that should never had happened took place. The guys were sussing out the Russian and Chinese fabricated hand grenades and more importantly try and decipher the Chinese/ Cyrillic writing on the detonators so as to know the delays on the fuses. A grenade from what i can gather was tied to a small tree and a line run to the pin, this was to allow the pin to be pulled from a safe distance. Apparently the pin did pull out but the spoon didn’t properly release from the grenade. When it did the guys were dangerously close and to add to the situation the detonator was a “zero det” commonly used in booby traps. The closest person to the blast was Wayne Ross Smith and he had turned away slightly and was hit by the shrapnel in his back and the back of the head. A few others also suffered shrapnel injuries. My friend Paul George flew down in the plane with a critically injured Wayne and others including the doctor. Unfortunately Wayne died shortly before the plane landed at Lanseria airport and judging by the state of the interior of the plane it must have been a difficult six hours for Paul George, he seemed to have changed somewhat. I drove Paul George home and met up with Deon where we discussed this tragedy, we were all friendly with Wayne and his death was a tragic affair. Wayne was a good guy and well liked and respected by all within EO. My birthday went off as planned as was attended by Bryan Westwood and my two comrades. It was a nice enough time but spoiled by the unfortunate turn of events. I had visited three other friends of mine and asked them if they wanted to join EO as they had military background with mortars and served in 61 Mech and the other was ex police. I was dismayed at their uniform answers that they could not due to their girlfriends. What a bull shit, lame arse excuse! I was disgusted by their seemingly sissy attitudes and have never really maintained contact with them. My flat mate Mark had just gotten married and i sort of understood his reluctance to go to Angola, but i was still a tad disappointed by his negativity and his words “ i am not going to go to Angola to get myself killed”. ( It turned out that a few years later he would get himself shot twice in a drive by shooting after pissing someone off, his wife was eight months pregnant with their first child. )

A couple days later we returned to Cabo Ledo and carried on with our jobs. There were the negative noddy squad that resigned from EO in the wake of the accident that claimed Wayne Ross Smith and complained that there wasn’t enough space in the plane to evacuate the guys quickly enough if anything happened or we were attacked. Apparently these idiots were not aware that they were working in a country at war. Around this time there was a lot of rumour circulating about us being arrested for being mercenaries on our return to the Republic and that there was imminent war brewing within South Africa due to the elections that were supposedly going to spark all out civil war. I commiserated about this possibility at length and was fraught with worries that the ANC were going to go on an all out wholesale killing spree. With this in my mind i went into December 1993 with doubts and trepidation. Eo proved to us once again that the welfare of the men in their employ was of great importance and number 1 priority by supplying us with what seems a small gesture but made us really feel like we were appreciated. The company had flown us a whole pile of “Xmas care packages” that contained all sorts of nice goodies, we dined like kings. There were a lot of guys that had gone home on leave so we had way too many Xmas parcels and these were donated to the FAA dudes in the vehicle section, little did we know that this would lead to all kinds of bother. Apparently one of the FAA soldiers had grabbed two parcels and would not share them with one of the FAA instructors who when he woke up from siesta demanded he receive one. An argument ensued and the instructor shot the FAA soldier in the stomach with his AK47 and sauntered off firing as he went. This Xmas parcel had obviously meant a lot to him? He walked out the vehicle park and marched towards our part of the base down the straight tarred road. Soldiers poured out the FAA vehicle park and were taking pot shots at the FAA instructor who was wearing a bright red T shirt. What is amazing is that he was only hit in the leg after about 20 or so shots had been fired in his direction, he would calmly turn and squeeze off shots in retaliation every few steps. The instructor fell in audible pain after the bullet hit him in the calf and exited the shin. It was a bad wound by any account and he yelled in pain. By now i was standing at the medics to get a Voltaren injection for pain in my lower back i had sustained after being pulled off the wing of N123PW also a king air flown by Crause Steyl and his merry men, i had been refuelling the plane and was seated on the wing with the hose resting over my leg to protect the wing when the guy that started the fuel truck to allow the pump to supply fuel hopped the truck forward a few feet and i was unceremoniously yanked from the wing and landed flat on my arse. Anyways back to the FAA instructor and the Xmas day parcel debacle, i immediately grabbed the nearest weapon which belonged to a guy suffering from cerebral malaria and was hallucinating about a big bear attacking him, i suspect he had been given some seriously strong sedatives. Paul George piled out the bungalow carrying my RPK ( i had since swapped my AK47 for the RPK with one of the recce`s who wanted a lighter weapon on the training field, Paul George went to ground and was lying prone, i was in a kneeling position and rounds that the soldiers were firing at the instructor were hitting inside our base in the dirt close by, we were not sure what the hell was going on and we thought we were being attacked by surprise using Christmas day as an advantage to sneak an attack. Pine Pienaar came out the ops room and told us to hold our fire as this was not our fight. He (the FAA instructor)started crawling up to our boom gate when a Chevy Cheyenne with a Caucasian Portuguese FAA Colonel pulled up and he casually strolled up to the instructor, drew his pistol and shot him! What i found amazing was that the guy that was wounded by the instructor was being pushed down the road from the FAA vehicle park in a wheelbarrow! There were at least 50 Chevy Cheyenne`s in this vehicle park and the Colonel had just rolled up in one and despatched the instructor then loaded his body on the back of the pick up and disappeared. The wounded fellow was being rushed to the medics in a wheelbarrow. This was bizarre to say the least. We returned to daily life and went to the bar that evening and discussed this funny event at length, pushing a dude to the medics in a wheelbarrow! The next day we went to the medics side of the FAA base where we had a refrigerated container that had unfortunately run out of diesel a few days earlier and December in Angola can be quite hot. I was standing on the back of the Chevy and as soon as the one guy tried to open the doors of the container the FAA soldiers milling around the medics started to throng towards the container and were dead keen on looting its contents, i fired a few rounds off into the air to keep the walking wounded at bay but this was not necessary because as soon as the doors swung open the stench of rotting meat and fish hit us like a sucker punch. I recoiled and puked. The FAA troops even moved off in a hurry. The door was closed and i never went back there. The smell that emanated from some of the injured FAA soldiers also made people ill, they were walking dead and just had not realised they were supposed to fall down. One particular guy had a dirty stiff bloodied browning bandage wrapped around his stump that was amputated just below the knee and man did this guy stink. I would voluntarily have rather sniffed a skunks arse than the foul rotting stink that emanated from this poor guys had been leg. Till today i have a serious problem with foul odours and the gag reflex kicks in when i smell anything similar. The smell was so strong you could almost taste it.

The 31st of December rolled around and we were all relaxing and catching up on much beer consumption in the bar area and generally shooting the breeze about any old thing. It wasn’t till one guy decided to stir the shit pot by saying that 32 battalion were superior to the recce`s and parabats combined. This started to rub the recce`s the wrong way and it was not long before someone got a snot klap (bitch slap) and it all went seriously pear shaped from there. Some weapons were cocked and us support guys evaporated back to our barracks. Shit thing is that i slept right by the frikkin door! I lay there that night with my RPK next to me in bed while we waited fro the shooting to start. The guys were very aggressive and none of us wanted a repeat of the hidings from September, only this time we were all armed both with weapons and booze. It did after a few hours wind down and the guys went to bed. We sighed a collective sigh of relief . I had by now already made my decision to resign and go back to the Republic so that i could assist my country when the war broke out. Naturally this did not come to fruition and the only trouble we had was between the IFP( inkhata freedom party) and the ANC( African national congress) outside the ANC head quarters. I at that time was working with a guy who owned a security company and he contracted me to assist him. We were in town at one of our “biggest” clients protecting the business which was a block away. That was a hoot and the excitement was palpable during the 1994 elections i was contracted by an Italian concern to protect Italian journalists covering the elections for RAI tv. Deon and I escorted these very naive journalists to the bomb blasts at the then Johannesburg international air port and it just so happens that Eeben Barlow had just arrived at the air port, we did not know this and i only recently became aware of this after reading his book. It is funny how coincidences work.

I duly wrote out my resignation letter and handed it to the personnel officer in Cabo Ledo who in turn sent it on to Thys Pelser in Centurion. I further more requested a letter stating i had resigned and indeed served with Executive Outcomes. I received this letter on my last day in the employ of Executive Outcomes which was the fourth of January 1994, i spent a total of 127 days working for the company which was the most life altering experience in my life. I started very young and green and left a much wiser individual. I have the utmost respect for Eeben Barlow the founder of EO and Lafras Luithing the second in command. I was sorry that i had left and tried to reapply in 1995 but i was not able to slot in anywhere, i still have the letter sent to me after applying to rejoin the company. I was saddened by my stupidity of leaving in the first place.
Executive Outcomes had a very positive impact in my life and even after my beating in the beginning i admit openly that i was acting like a horses arse and deserved to be issued corrective slaps, this was of vital importance to ensure i know exactly where i stood within the framework of the company and that cowboys will be a liability to those in the unit. The recce`s were the real deal and we were support and we had our job which was vitally important to the company as a whole even though we weren’t special forces and operators. Planes need refuelling, weapons need cleaning, garbage needs to be cleaned out, convoys need protecting, beer needs to be unloaded etc. I am very proud to have been a small cog in a big machine and we did our jobs well. Eeben Barlow wrote an excellent book titled Executive Outcomes against all odds and it tells in depth the job the company had and the successes it had in ending 30 years of civil war in Angola and later also turning the tide in Sierra Leone. His book also goes into detail describing his career in the military and then in the employ of the CCB( civil cooperation bureau) and is a must read. Eeben also has a blog site that he keeps updated with interesting articles. http://eebenbarlowsmilitaryandsecurityblog.blogspot.com/

Once again i thank Eeben Barlow for the opportunity to have worked for his dynamic company which was to become the first real PMC (private military company) and the bench mark that those that sprung up have tried to emulate. What made EO unique was the emphasis on the well being of its staff and the professionalism of the operation as a whole.

I later met up with Rieme De Jager who was our RSM (regimental sergeant major) in Cabo Ledo in Randburg and had signed on to go off to Angola on separate contract in the diamond region, where i was to be a supposed “tractor mechanic” although i had zero clue about mechanics and my visa was duly authorised and entered into my passport but at the last moment the whole project seemed to go haywire and we never went. I was very upset by this turn of events and went on with my newly found lucrative career in the private security field.

(book number 32)

Copyright Michael B. da Silva October 2012.......All Rights Reserved


By kind permission from Mike and taken from his blog site