As You Were: The Tragedy at Valcartier by Gerry FostatyAs You Were: The Tragedy at Valcartier by Gerry Fostaty

As You Were: The Tragedy at Valcartier

byGerry Fostaty

Paperback | April 1, 2011

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SUMMER, 1974 — Six teenaged boys 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 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, who was 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 pieces 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 an embarrassed military did their best to ignore this devastating incident.

Gerry Fostaty 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.
Title:As You Were: The Tragedy at ValcartierFormat:PaperbackDimensions:198 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.47 inPublished:April 1, 2011Publisher:Goose Lane EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0864926480

ISBN - 13:9780864926487

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from An accurate and well-written book. Gerry Fostaty has written an accurate recollection of the tragedy which occurred at the cadet camp at CFB Valcartier in 1974. This book is important today, more than 35 years later, because it illustrates the how traumatic military-related service can be, especially crucial now that many Canadian soldiers are returning from active duty in Afghanistan. The book also raises the question of why the young Army Cadets who survived the terrible explosion and aftermath, were never encouraged or supported by the government to seek treatment. Hopefully, we as a country have learned more about PTSD and its devastating effects on our military and emergency services personnel and won't ignore the next generation afflicted with this disorder. As a survivor of the explosion written about in As You Were, and as someone who has struggled with PTSD for the years since, I am pleased to see this publication. I hope that Fostaty's book will finally bring recognition to those who affected by the explosion at the Valcartier cadet camp - recognition to both the forgotten survivors and families of the victims, and recognition that PTSD among our military personnel needs our attention.
Date published: 2011-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An important book I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the local Chapters store when he was there doing a book tour. I chatted with him and discovered that the book was about a horrifying incident that I vaguely remembered from "way back when" as being in the news then disappearing from sight. When I discovered that he had actually been there, I bought the book to find out more. This is an important, but disturbing story. The incident itself, the death and injuring of many young boys at an Armed Forced training camp for cadets, was a terrible tragedy. Reading about the mistakes and blunders that allowed such a tragedy to happen, by supposed professionals, was profoundly disturbing. But how the Armed Forces dealt with the survivors borders on the obscene. Despite their young age and after living through an horrific explosion that killed and maimed many of their numbers, the Armed Forces basically washed their hands of the cadets. The boys were given no support of any kind, and were forced to deal with it entirely on their own, whether their injuries were physical or psychological. It is only the past few years that these "boys" (now in their 50's) have gotten together and talked about what occurred. This was a difficult book for me to read, as I could only read so much of it at one time before my anger wouldn't let me go any further. If just reading about it made me upset, I can only image how the survivors feel about the incident. Especially since no Government of Canada official has offered any assistance. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in how the Canadian Armed Forces treats its injured. It is a disgrace that no government (of any party) has made any attempt to help these men to rebuild their lives.
Date published: 2011-05-27

Editorial Reviews

"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