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Walter J. Natynczyk
Walter Natynczyk.png
Nickname Walt
Place of birth Winnipeg
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Years of service 1975-present
Rank General
Awards Commander of the Order of Military Merit
Meritorious Service Cross
Canadian Forces Decoration

General Walter J. Natynczyk (pronounced na-tin-check)[1], CMM, MSC, CD[2] is the Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces.


Born in Winnipeg in 1958, Natynczyk is the son of a Polish father and German mother. He and his two sisters grew up in Winnipeg's inner city.[3] He worked odd jobs as a Winnipeg Free Press paperboy and a hamburger flipper at a fast food establishment before embarking on his military career.

Natynczyk is a father of three, all of whom are in the military.[3]


Natynczyk joined the Canadian Forces in August 1975. He attended Royal Roads Military College and Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, graduating in 1979 with a degree in Business Administration (student # 12320). His formative years were spent on NATO duty in West Germany with The Royal Canadian Dragoons in troop command and staff appointments.

In 1983, Natynczyk assumed duties as a Squadron Commander at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. In 1986, he commenced a five-year regimental tour in Petawawa, serving in several staff and squadron command appointments; this tour included six months of UN peacekeeping duties in Cyprus. On completion of Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, he served on the Army Staff in St. Hubert, Quebec.

In May 1994, Natynczyk embarked upon a year-long tour with the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia as Sector South-West Chief of Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina within HQ 7 (UK) Armoured Brigade, then as the Chief of Land Operations, UNPROFOR HQ in Zagreb, Croatia. In June 1995, Natynczyk was assigned to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff within National Defence HQ in Ottawa. He then commanded his regiment for two years, leading the Dragoons during domestic operations in the Ottawa region during the 1998 Ice Storm. Natynczyk returned to Bosnia in 1998 as the Canadian Contingent Commander. On his return to Ottawa, Ontario in March 1999, he was appointed J3 Plans and Operations during the period of deployments to Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor and Eritrea.

Natynczyk attended the U.S. Army War College, and was subsequently appointed Deputy Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood. In January 2004, he deployed with III Corps to Baghdad, Iraq, serving first as the Deputy Director of Strategy, Policy and Plans, and subsequently as the Deputy Commanding General of the Multi-National Corps (Iraq) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Natynczyk led the Corps' 35,000 soldiers, consisting of 10 separate brigades, stationed throughout the Iraq Theatre of Operations.[2][4] He was later awarded the Meritorious Service Cross specifically for his combat efforts in Operation Iraqi Freedom January 2004 to January 2005.[5]

Upon his return to Canada, he assumed command of the Land Force Doctrine and Training System. He was subsequently appointed Chief, Transformation, where he was responsible for implementation of the force restructuring and the enabling processes and policies.

Natynczyk was promoted to Lieutenant General (LGen), and assumed the responsibilities of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff on 28 June, 2006.

On June 6, 2008, the Government of Canada named Natynczyk as the next Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), replacing retiring General Rick Hillier[6]. Natynczyk was promoted to General, and installed as CDS on July 2, 2008.

Military offices
Preceded by
Rick Hillier
Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Interview: Walter Natynczyk
  2. ^ a b Governor General announces awarding of Meritorious Service Decorations
  3. ^ a b The Quiet Canadian
  4. ^ Sanders, Richard (2008-09-01). "September 2008: Canada's Real Role in Iraq". Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  5. ^ "Governor General announces awarding of Meritorious Service Decorations". Governor General of Canada; Media release. Jan 24, 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-15. ""MGen Natynczyk is recognized for his outstanding leadership and professionalism while deployed as Deputy Commanding General of the Multi-National Corps during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. From January 2004 to January 2005, MGen Natynczyk led the Corps' 10 separate brigades, consisting of more than 35,000 soldiers stationed throughout the Iraq Theatre of Operations. He also oversaw planning and execution of all Corps level combat support and combat service support operations. His pivotal role in the development of numerous plans and operations resulted in a tremendous contribution by the Multi-National Corps to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada."" 
  6. ^ Harper to name new top general: report, The Ottawa Citizen, June 6, 2008


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