Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 02, 2008 12:11 ET

General Walt Natynczyk Today Assumed Command of the Canadian Forces as Chief of the Defence Staff

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 2, 2008) - General Walt Natynczyk is officially the new Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces. General Natynczyk was given the top command in a ceremony at Uplands presided over by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay attended the ceremony.

"We are torn between sadness at bidding farewell to a general whom we greatly admire and joy at welcoming as the head of the Canadian Forces a generous man and a fine officer," said the Governor General. "These emotions speak volumes of the respect that we have for them both. A respect that resonates at all levels of Canada's military, from myself as commander-in-chief to soldiers of every rank and stripe to their families.

"The Canadian Forces have the important and challenging responsibility of protecting Canada and Canadians and contributing to international stability," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "It is critical that they have a Chief of Defence Staff that offers strong leadership and expertise."

"General Natynczyk has the extensive knowledge and experience necessary to ensure our Canadian Forces continue their fine work into the future," said Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay.

General Natynczyk takes over as Chief of the Defence Staff from General Rick Hillier, who assumed leadership in February 2005. General Hillier is retiring from the Canadian Forces after 35 years of dedicated service.

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