You are here

RLA Recognizes Retired General’s Service

NEWS RELEASE: General Walter Natynczyk named the recipient of The John Brant Award

January 25, 2019, Wellandport, ON – Robert Land Academy (RLA) has announced General (retired) Walt Natynczyk as the recipient of The John Brant Award in 2019 in recognition of honourable service to his country.

General Natynczyk’s service began when he joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) at the age of 18, after spending five years as an Air Cadet, and continues into his retirement from the military as the current Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada.

“Honour and the military have always been deeply connected, with the idea that those who serve our country and are willing to go to battle do so with honour,” says Kevin Wendling, Headmaster of Robert Land Academy. “This is why General Natynczyk was chosen as the 2019 recipient of the John Brant Award. He has lived the majority of his adult life in service to Canada, and has done so resolutely.”

Natynczyk served in numerous operations including peacekeeping in Cyprus; Chief of Land Operations in Croatia; command of The Royal Canadian Dragoons during the Winnipeg flooding in 1997 and the Ottawa ice storm of 1998; and as an exchange officer where he served as Deputy Commanding General, III Corps (US) in Fort Hood. He later deployed with III Corps to Baghdad, Iraq as Deputy Director of Strategy, Policy and Plans, and then as the Deputy Commanding General of the Multi-National Corps (Iraq) during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  

He has commanded the Canadian Army’s Doctrine and Training System, served as Chief of Transformation responsible for implementation of the Forces restructuring, and as Canada’s Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. He was promoted to full General and appointed to the top job in Canada’s military, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008. Following his retirement from the CAF in 2012, he served as President of the Canadian Space Agency before beginning his current role as Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs in 2014.

Decorated with the Commander of the Order of Military Merit, the Meritorious Service Cross, the Commander Legion of Merit, Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur, Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Poland) and the Medal of Merit in Gold (Netherlands), General Natynczyk has demonstrated labour, loyalty, courage, commitment and honour throughout his career.

The John Brant Award was created by Robert Land Academy, a private military-themed boarding school for boys in grades five through 12, in 2008 to recognize community leaders who serve with loyalty, labour, courage, commitment and honour – the five values of RLA. It was named after John Brant because the Mohawk Grand Chief, who was the first Native American to sit in the Upper Canada Assembly, was a respected leader who demonstrated these five values.  The inaugural John Brant award was presented to Speaker of the Ontario Legislative Assembly Dave Levac in 2018.

“General Natynczyk’s military service may have followed generations after Brant’s, but the two men have much in common in the way they served their country – and how their service reflects the Academy’s values,” commented John Swettenham, Chair of Robert Land Academy’s Board of Governors.

General Natynczyk will be recognized at the Robert Land Academy Gala on Saturday, April 6, 2019, at The National Club in Toronto. For more information on the event visit