Military Wiki
Raymond R.J. Henault
General Ray Henault
Born April 26, 1949(1949-04-26) (age 73)
Place of birth Winnipeg, Manitoba
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch Air Force Ensign of Canada.svg Canadian Forces
Years of service 1968-2008
Rank General
Commands held 444(CA) Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Base Commander CFB Portage la Prairie, 10 Tactical Air Group, Chief of the Defence Staff,
Chairman of the Military Committee, (NATO)
Battles/wars Kosovo
Awards Commander of the Order of Military Merit
Canadian Forces Decoration

General Raymond (Ray) Roland Joseph Henault, CMM, MSC, CD (born Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on April 26, 1949) is a retired Canadian Air Force officer. He was the Chief of the Defence Staff of Canada from June 28, 2001. On November 7, 2004, Henault was voted to become the next chairman of NATO's military committee, a position he held until 2008, when he finally retired.

Military career

Henault enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1968.[1] On completion of pilot training at CFB Borden, Ontario, and CFB Gimli, Manitoba, Henault was transferred to CFB Bagotville, Québec, where he served as a CF-101 Voodoo pilot with 425 Squadron. In 1972, he became a flight instructor on the Musketeer at CFB Portage la Prairie. In 1974, he served a second tour at CFB Bagotville, this time as an air traffic controller.

In 1976, Henault was posted to 408 Squadron at CFB Edmonton, Alberta, to fly the CH-135 Twin Huey helicopter. In 1980 he moved to CFB Valcartier, Québec, as Staff Officer (Aviation) in 5 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters. In 1981, he was promoted to the rank of Major and transferred to 430e Escadron at CFB Valcartier, where he served as the Twin Huey Flight Commander.

In January 1985, he came to National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa to assume responsibility for Doctrine and International Programs in the Directorate of Land Aviation. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in June 1985, and appointed Project Director for the Canadian Forces Light Helicopter Project at NDHQ.

In June 1987, Henault was appointed the Commanding Officer of 444(CA) Tactical Helicopter Squadron at CFB Lahr, Germany.[1] In June 1989, he was transferred to Air Command Headquarters in Winnipeg as Senior Staff Officer Requirements. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in July 1990, and appointed Base Commander of CFB Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.[1] In July 1992, he was appointed the Deputy Commander of 10 Tactical Air Group at CFB Montreal. In August 1993, he was posted to the National Defence College in Kingston, Ontario to attend Course No. 47.

He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General in May 1994, and assumed command of 10 Tactical Air Group headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. In July 1995, he was posted to Air Command Headquarters and appointed Chief of Staff Operations.

From June to December 1996, General Henault served as Chief of Staff J3/Director-General Military Plans and Operations at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.[1] From January to October 1997, Henault was appointed Acting Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff. He was promoted to the rank of Major-General on 1 April 1997.

From September 1997 to September 1998, Henault served as Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. On 15 August 1998 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General and served as Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff from September 1998 to June 2001.[1] Henault was promoted to his present rank and appointed Chief of the Defence Staff on 28 June 2001.[1][2]

He is a graduate of the École supérieure de guerre in Paris, France and of the National Defence College in Kingston.[1] He holds a Bachelor of Arts and honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Manitoba.[1] He is an honorary member of the Royal Military College of Canada (# S146).

He holds the rank of Commander of the Order of Military Merit (CMM), The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Serving Member), and Commander of the French Legion of Honour.[1]

Henault was elected to the position of Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in November 2004 and assumed that position at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium in June 2005.[1] He held that position until 2008, when he finally retired from the military and returned to Canada.

Post-military Career

In 2013, Ray Henault will join the Board of Directors of the Pearson Centre.[3]


Military offices
Preceded by
J.G.M. Baril
Chief of the Defence Staff
2001 – 2005
Succeeded by
R.J. Hillier
Preceded by
Harald Kujat
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
2005 – 2008
Succeeded by
Giampaolo Di Paola

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