To retired Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of defence for the Canadian Forces from 2008 to 2012, his country and the U.S. are closely related. Almost literally. "When you think of the United States and Canada together, you think of us having family ties," he said. "It's more than friendship that connects us, it's the respect for the sovereignty of each nation and the trust and the confidence we have in each other."
Gen. Natynczyk was the featured speaker at the 13th annual Distinguished Canadian Address. Dr. Andrew Holman, professor of history and coordinator of the Canadian Studies program, served as host for the lecture and introduced General Natynczyk to an audience of students, faculty at community guests in the Moakley Auditorium.
The general, he said. is a highly decorated veteran of more than 35 years' service who retired last year as head of all Canadian armed forces. He served extensive combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and also had exchange assignments with U.S. forces, serving as deputy commanding general of the III Armored Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, and later with the same military unit in Iraq. He also served humanitarian missions Haiti and was part of the NATO mission to Libya, and has been honored with commendations from the governments of four nations.
"He is in every respect a remarkable man and a remarkable representative of the Canadian people," Dr. Holman said.
In his remarks Gen. Natynczyk spoke on a range of topics covering U.S. and Canada relations, starting in the 18th century and continuing through both world wars, and up to the present decade.
"Our friendship, our family ties, reach back across the centuries, and today your country and mine work together all over the world. We work together In the Americas, we work together in the Caribbean, and whether it be on the high seas in the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, or the Atlantic Ocean, our forces are there in support of each other, hand-in-glove" he said. "Today we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan and the sense of our mutual commitment to each other's well-being has been refreshed for generations to come."
Following a question-and-answer session, a reception was held in the general's honor. (Story and photo by David K. Wilson, '71, Office of University Advancement)