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First Day In Rwanda

Heroes Remember

Being in Rwanda, even now when I think back to hundreds of things that I witnessed and participated in, it’s still for the most part surreal. It’s hard to imagine, to see what went on, to see the results and the aftermath of it, and to smell it. Smells are significant for that type of thing. Hundreds of thousands of bodies were everywhere in the country, literally. There were cases on my first I think full day, when I was asked to go over to a Red Cross hospital and give them some advice on blast proofing to sort of decrease the amount of glass shrapnel and so on that comes through the windows when mortar bombs and that hit. On the way over, I was driven over by a Polish officer, a guy named Jersey Madska, a Major, and Major Madska was one of these guys that was held at gunpoint and made to witness some of the machete massacres. But we drove through the city, had to stop at checkpoints and well, they had a firefight fifty feet in front of us. Then sit there and watch guys get killed and bleed out right there and when you’re looking out the window, you’re watching the guy bleed out and then the fighting stops, the shooting stops and the UN vehicle is sent through the checkpoint and you go two hundred yards up the road and you stop at the next one. There’s another firefight and you wait so we went through seven or eight of those to the hospital and obviously the same route on the way back so that was my first full day in Rwanda.

Mr. Deveau provides detail of his arrival in Rwanda and what was witnessed by our military.

Jerry Deveau

Mr. Jerry Deveau was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia on November 20, 1950. Looking for excitement, Mr. Deveau believed he was up for a reasonable challenge in life and decided to join the Canadian Forces. Mr. Deveau joined the Army and after going through a personnel selection unit held occupation of Combat Engineer. In 1990, Mr. Deveau participated in his first operational tour to Pakistan and in 1994 accepted another tour to Rwanda as Chief Warrant Officer. At the end of his military career, Mr. Deveau held rank of Major. Mr. Deveau became employed as a Peer Support Coordinator with the OSISS (Occupational Stress Injury Social Support) program, a federal government network that provides support for military personnel returning to civilian life. Mr. Deveau resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick with his family.

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Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Jerry Deveau
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces

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