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Hercules in Trenton

Heroes Remember

I remember going in seeing the commandant because by this time the commandant who had recruited me in 1970 had moved on, and I went in to see the commandant and he said, “Well,” he said, “where do you want to go for a transfer? You’ve done excellent work here,” and I said, “Well, I’d really like to go and fly Hurks in Trenton.” Because what became apparent to me was that as a fighter pilot and I’d been on jets my whole military career, I still didn’t have a civilian qualification and in order to get a civilian qualification, it had to be a multi-engineer plane, couldn’t be centre line thrust and the Hurk seemed like an ideal machine. It was a turbo prop, had the same speed range as the T-Bird so he said, “Oh, okay.” So the career manager came down and he said, “Well”, he said, “ here’s what we got for you.” I said, “Well, I’d like to go on Hurks in Trenton.” “Impossible,” he said, “everybody wants to go on Hurks in Trenton,” and he said, “maybe, maybe Buffalos,” he said. So I said, “Well...” So we had a break and I saw the commandant and he said, “How did you interview go?” he said, “When, when are you going on Hurks in Trenton?” I said, “Well, he’s not going to give me Hurks in Trenton,” and the commandant at this time was not an Air Force guy, he was an Army Colonel. And in the army when the colonel said that you were going somewhere that’s where you went. So he says, “But you said you wanted to go on Hurks in Trenton,” and I said, “Yes.” So left it at that. Next thing I knew I got a call from a not-too-happy career manager who said, “You’re going on Hurks in Trenton.” I went to Trenton, went on Hurks, once again I mentioned before that flying aircraft by numbers is what you learned as an instructor and it was there that it really came into play because the Hurk is an aircraft that you fly by numbers. It’s a big machine. And we went into some very unprepared strips and so on. We were, participated in building an air strip in the North when the cosmos debris was being picked up. We assisted in the relief operations out of Vietnam when they were flying out the people at the, near the end of the war. We re-supplied the missions around the world We did, I went around the world in every different direction that you can imagine, and four or five times.

Mr. Peters describes how he gets his reassignment to Trenton, from where he flies Hercules cargo aircraft around the globe in support of Canada’s peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.

Walter Peters

Walter Peters, the youngest of six children, was born in Litchfield, Nova Scotia in 1937. A graduate of Mount Allison University, he worked for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force at age twenty-four and entering pilot training. After receiving his commission and wings, Mr. Peters enjoyed a distinguished career on many levels. He was Canada’s first black jet fighter pilot and an A1 flying instructor. He was involved in the development of the Snowbirds and later flew with them. At Trenton, Mr. Peters piloted Hercules cargo aircraft on assorted missions around the globe, and it was here that he also became the Canadian Armed Forces’ first Human Rights Officer. As advisor to the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Peters offered advice on the tactical movement of troops by air, and analysed and briefed the Council after the Russian shootdown of a Korean civilian jet in 1983. He retired holding the rank of Major.

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Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Walter Peters
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Air Force

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