You are trained killers

Heroes Remember

You are trained killers

And I'll never forget Sergeant-Major, Company Sergeant-Major DeCoste. Everyone of us, to a man, prior to this time we were deathly afraid of this guy. You probably know this, but company sergeant-majors are primarily responsible for training and discipline. Anyway, so Sergeant-Major DeCoste at our smoker, got up on a big table in the middle of everybody and he gave us a talk and he sang! We didn't know he could even utter anything else other than profanities but he got up and he sang! He had a beautiful voice. And he told us that, oh, how did he put that, I wish I could remember it exactly but basically it was, you're, how well we have trained you will determine very likely how long you will live when you go to Korea, and he says, you are going. He said, “Ferguson, what have you learned? What have we taught you?” And I thought, well, I guess he's taught us, and I told him, you know, basic training, that's drill, weapons training. I said, “You've taught us that and I think we've learned it well.” “Yes,” he said, “that's right, we did, that's right, but,” he said, “something more important than that we've instilled in you and,” he says, and he says, “you don't know that you've got it but you have.” He said, “We've taught you to kill and that's your job. That's what soldiers do.” Funny part of it, you know, it was a revelation, it was a revelation because I, we never thought of ourselves as, as killers!

Mr. Ferguson describes his initial fear of Company Sergeant-Major DeCoste, and elaborates on DeCoste’s comments about their training and role as “killers.”

Luther Ferguson

Luther Ferguson was born in Mayview, Saskatchewan on October 23, 1933. He describes himself as being “unworldly, poorly educated and having low self-esteem.” Mr. Ferguson felt that the Army offered him the best opportunity to both further his education and improve his life. He enlisted in 1951, and soon found himself a combatant in the Korean War, where he served in the infantry. Mr. Ferguson’s accounts lean heavily on the psychological impacts of training and warfare, and the devastation experienced by the civilian population during the Korean conflict.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Luther Ferguson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Canadian Regiment

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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