General Wayne Eyre, the Chief of the Defense Staff for Canada, joins Joe to share over three decades worth of leadership lessons, including how reading, writing, and reflection have shaped his career. They also talk about what it means to be a professional in today’s military, the importance of holistic health and fitness for leaders, and why failure is a great teacher.
Gen Eyre joined Army Cadets at age 12 and has been in uniform ever since. Gen Eyre attended Royal Roads Military College Victoria and Royal Military College of Canada Kingston. Upon commissioning in 1988 he joined the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), and has had the great privilege of spending the majority of his career in command or deputy command positions, including commanding 3 PPCLI, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, 3rd Canadian Division and Joint Task Force West, Deputy Commanding General – Operations for XVIII (U.S.) Airborne Corps, Deputy Commander United Nations Command in Korea, Deputy and for a short time Commander of Military Personnel Command, and Commander Canadian Army. He has been in the Chief of the Defence Staff role since February 24, 2021.
Operationally, Gen Eyre has commanded a rifle platoon with the United Nations Force in Cyprus; 2 PPCLI's Reconnaissance Platoon with the UN Protection Force in Croatia (including the Medak Pocket); a rifle company in Bosnia with NATO's Stabilization Force; the Canadian Operational Mentor and Liaison Team in Kandahar, Afghanistan advising 1-205 Afghan National Army Brigade in combat; as the Commanding General of NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, where he oversaw the force generation, institutional training, and professional development of the Afghan National Security Forces; and as the first non-U.S. Deputy Commander of United Nations Command Korea in its 69 year history, and as such was the most senior Canadian officer ever permanently stationed in the Asia Pacific region. Among various domestic operations, he was the military liaison to the Government of Manitoba for the 1997 floods, commanded a company fighting the 1998 British Columbia wildfires, commanded the Task Force that secured the 2010 G8 Summit, and commanded the military response to both the 2015 Saskatchewan wildfires and the 2016 Fort McMurray, Alberta evacuation.
As a staff officer, Gen Eyre has served with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Land Force Western Area Headquarters, in the Directorate of Defence Analysis at NDHQ, and as the J3 of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification Course, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the U.S. Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting, and the U.S. Army War College. He holds a Bachelor of Science and three master's degrees (Military Studies, Operational Studies and Strategic Studies). His decorations include the Commander of the Order of Military Merit, the Meritorious Service Cross, the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation, the Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation, the Order of National Security Merit from South Korea, the French National Order of Merit in the rank of Commander, and was three times awarded the U.S. Legion of Merit, including in the rank of Commander.