Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

A Night of Unflinching Character: Jody Mitic at the War Museum

“Not a great start for a professional tough guy, huh?” coughed Jody Mitic, as he choked back tears on stage in front of spectators this past Thursday evening. Taking place in the Canadian War Museum, the night saw the launch of Mitic’s new book Unflinching: The Making of a Canadian Sniperchronicling the military life of Mitic, his transition into civilian life, and everything in-between.


Presenting in front of Mayor Jim Watson, a full-house of fans, and nearly 1500 metric tons of tanks and artillery equipment, Mitic began the night by reading aloud the introduction to his book, something he had reportedly never done before, let alone in front of a crowd. The introduction told the story of the dramatic mission that saw both of his legs destroyed by an enemy IED in Afghanistan. As he mimed out the actions that he was reading on stage, it was clear, that although this was an event that he had recounted many times, the emotions of that day still stuck close to the surface.


Hosted by CTV’s Kevin Newman, the night saw Mitic talking about his personal experiences, both in and out of the military. Mitic, while clearly emotional throughout the night, described his life and experiences with the coolness and confidence that you would expect from a decorated sniper such as himself. While going into great depths about the night that saw him loose both legs, neither Mitic nor Newman let that be the focus of the night, branching the conversation out around the events that made Mitic the man, the soldier, and the father that he is today.


A gun fan at an early age, Mitic recounted his role models in life, from his father who taught him to question the rules, to his uncle who told him that being a Top Gun pilot may be a bit too lofty of a dream for a 10 year old. From there, Mitic described his early life in the armed forces: getting chewed out by ranking officials, understanding the basics of what makes a valuable sniper, and learning not to take any of the fighting that he was about to part take in seriously. 


When asked whether he regretted any of the decisions that lead him to this point, Mitic responded with a confident 'no'. He was proud of role he played in shaping the Afghanistan, and while he acknowledges that you should not expect to see changes over night, he feels content in the actions he took to steer the country in a different direction, for the sake of the younger generation.


At the beginning of the night, museum Director General Stephen Quick stated that the role of the museum was to preserve the experiences, consequences and effects of war, both on nations, and individuals, and reflect just what role Canada has had on the world stage. No better was this goal realized than at this book launch, with the personal stories of one Canadian sniper brought to life on stage. Thoughtful, confident, and at times emotional, Jody Mitic showed the audience just what it meant to him to be a Canadian sniper, and he promises his book will help shed even more light on the experience.