As You Were: The Tragedy at Valcartier Paperback – Apr 1 2011
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"Written in a clear, engaging voice and never descends into sensationalist finger-pointing . . . a cogent and provocative reassessment of a tragic incident the DND has done little to address." — Paul Challen, Quill &; Quire (2012-11-08)
From the Back Cover
SUMMER, 1974 — Six teenaged boys died and fifty-four were injured in an explosion on the Canadian Forces Base in Valcartier, Quebec. A live grenade inadvertently made its way into a box of dud ammunition, and its pin was pulled during a lecture on explosives safety. One hundred and forty boys survived, each isolated in their trauma, yet expected to carry on with their lives.
Thirty-four years later, Gerry Fostaty, an 18-year-old sergeant that summer and one of the first on the scene after the explosion, received an unexpected email from his former sergeant-major, triggering a journey into memory — a quest for a true picture of what had happened on that day. In As You Were, Fostaty has pieced together the story of how a series of preventable mistakes led to tragedy.
The only full account of an event that received minor attention at the time, As You Were is the story of a normal day turned horrific; how duty, responsibility, and honour make ordinary people take extraordinary measures; and how the military did their best to ignore this devastating incident.
The M207 Grenade: The M207 grenade is a fragmentation hand grenade. It is lemon shaped and has a coil of notched steel covered with a smooth, thin, steel layer. Within the coil is an explosive centre. When detonated, the core shatters the coil and the steel casing, transforming the broken particles into high-velocity, irregularly shaped projectiles that can cause casualties up to fifteen metres away. It is a very effective anti-personnel device. That is, it was designed to kill and injure soldiers or anyone within its effective range. Because of its effectiveness, the design has been widely copied by many nations.
On the morning of July 15th, 1974, a Warrant Officer organized and selected the display items and the dummy explosives that he would use in the explosives safety lecture. All of them were display models and the dummies. They were painted bright colours and marked to make them distinct from the live models and easily recognizable. One never has to guess with these. The gaudy colours and markings indicate at a glance that they were dummies. The live explosives were olive green. The Warrant Officer carefully chose the items to reflect a wide range of ordinance, including grenades, anti-personnel mines, and rockets.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
As You Were is the story of a deadly accident that could have been prevented, when young boys were killed and many others were badly wounded. The cause of the accident was glossed over, and the resulting human damage trivialized and ignored by military authorities for many years. On Tuesday, July 31, 1974, at approximately 1352 hours, six teenaged boys, all members of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, died and fifty-four were injured in an explosion on a Canadian Forces Base in Valcartier, Quebec. A live grenade inadvertently made its way into a box of dummy ammunition, and its pin was pulled during a lecture on explosives safety. Gerry Fostaty, a witness to this tragedy, and author of this moving account, spent six years as an army cadet, climbing the ranks until he became an instructor. Leaving the cadets at 19, he became an actor, working on stage and in film and television for more than 20 years. He now works as a marketing manager at an information technology company. He lives in Aurora, Ontario. As You Were is his retelling of the Valcartier tragedy.
The Royal Canadian Army Cadets (RCAC) is a Canadian national youth program sponsored by the Canadian Forces and the civilian Army Cadet League of Canada. Administered by the Canadian Forces, the program is funded through the Department of National Defence with the civilian partner providing support in the local community. Recognized as Canada's oldest youth program, there are approximately 21,000 army cadets in about 450 corps across the country.
In the summer of 1974, Gerry Fostaty was an 18 year old Cadet Sergeant stationed at Valcartier, Quebec.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is an important book about a little known episode in recent Canadian history. Kudos to Gerry Fostaty for his courage and skill in telling this story, which is also his story.Published on June 8 2011 by duke