Samuel Hearns joined the army on 28 May 1951 and served until his retirement in 1974. Samuel has since become an eagle staff carrier during the powwows he helps organize. Read and listen to Samuel’s testimony of how he met his wife during his first tour and his service as a peacekeeper in Germany, Vietnam, Cyprus, and in Quebec in 1970 during the October Crisis.
Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.
(Courtesy of The Memory Project/Samuel Hearns)
"I'd found a home in the army, because my life at home was not very good, so I spent twenty-five years in the army and I got out in - I retired in '74 - and all through those years, mostly my service was in peacekeeping."
My name is Samuel Hearns. I was born on the Alderville reservation, southeast of Toronto.
When the Korean War broke out, I decided that was the time for me to leave. I joined the army in Kingston, Ontario, on May the 28th, 1951, and everything was all filled up so they asked me if I would like to join the 1st Infantry Brigade that was going to Germany in 1951.
In those three years that I was in Germany, I used to go on holidays, or leave, and go to England, and I met my wife in England. In the fall of '52 we got married in England. I came back to Canada and she came behind me. Within a few months, she joined me in Canada.
I tried civie life and that only lasted six months so I re-enlisted in the army and I went up to London, Ontario, with the Airborne Regiment, RCR. I'd found a home in the army, because my life at home was not very good, so I spent twenty-five years in the army and I got out in - I retired in '74 - and all through those years, mostly my service was in peacekeeping.
They needed people to go to Vietnam to do different jobs so I volunteered for that, and I was away for six months. I was in there in the '60s when the advisors were there, before everything started. I spent a lot of time in Hanoi doing different jobs.
I went to Cyprus for six months, and on the way home from Cyprus we went to Quebec. At that time, we got a message over the aircraft that we were all going to some place in Quebec for the FLQ crisis. We had a duty to do there. I think we spent a month and a half there or something. It was really a dragged out thing because nobody really knew what was happening. They kept a lot of information to themselves.
It's a good life, but like I say, you have to be cut out for it because you're away a lot now. And I was away a lot actually during that time, for the twenty-five years that I put in.
I went back to my roots about thirty years ago, and I've done quite well with that. I run powwows. I'm what you call a Head Veteran at times at different pow-wows, and I became an eagle staff carrier, which is a great privilege. You have to earn those things, and I have a few eagle feathers. And two years ago I was given a complete eagle bustle and dancing stick. I think I have around a hundred eagle feathers with my staff, bustle and dancing stick. So I've really done quite well with going back to my roots, which I'm very proud of.
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