Born in Newfoundland and Labrador, General Rick Hillier joined the Army at the age of 17.  Throughout his career, Gen Hillier has commanded troops from the platoon to division level and has worked as a staff officer at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

He has served throughout Canada, notably commanding the two-brigade commitment to the Red River floodings in 1997 and the CF commitment to the Quebec Ice Storm in 1998.