Leslie appointed head of Canada's land forces
Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie took command of Canada's land forces Thursday in a ceremony at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
A career soldier, the 49-year-old Leslie is moving into the shoes that were once held by his famous grandfather, Gen. Andrew McNaughton, who was head ofCanada's army during the Second World War.
Both of Leslie's grandfathers served the nation as ministers of national defence.
Leslie replaces Lt.-Gen. Marc Caron, who is retiring from his position as chief of the land staff and commanderof the land forces, a position he assumed in February, 2005.
"We are saddened to say goodbye to Marc, an exceptional leader, as he retires from the Canadian Forces, but we are certainly fortunate, and this is the truth, to pass the torch to another exceptional officer, Andrew Leslie," Gen. Rick Hillier,chief of the defence staff, said at the change of command ceremony.
Hillier said people should welcome change in Canada's military.
"We want to give the army and the Canadian Forces what they need to be relevant to Canadians and effective in the operating environment of this 21st century," Hillier said. "And that's why we're changing our command structures, we're changing our equipment, we're changing our training, and in short, we're in the business of changing almost everything we do."
Leslie has been a gunner since joining the reserves as a student at the University of Ottawa. He transferred to the regular forces, joining the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. Heserved overseas in Germany, Cyprus, the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, as well as in Canada.
In 1995, he was appointed chief of staff in the south sector of the former Yugoslavia and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his actions under fire in August of that year.
Transferred back to Canada, he became chief of staff for the army in Western Canada and helped organize the army's assistance during the Manitoba floods in 1997.
Leslie alsoserved in Afghanistan in 2003, where he was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross.