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Second Lieutenant (Retd) Natalie Chafe-Yuan

What Natalie thought was going to be a straightforward posting for a few months in Canada’s Arctic, turned out to be a defining moment in her life which brought an unexpected end to her military career.

Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador


Natalie Chafe-Yuan


  • Quebec, New Brunswick, Nunavut


  • Joint Task Force North Iqaluit Detachment

Born in Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador, Natalie is no stranger to small towns.

After graduating from university, she enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces, completed basic training, and attended the Infantry School in Gagetown, New Brunswick. She subsequently accepted a posting to the Joint Task Force North Iqaluit Detachment in Nunavut.

The welcoming and tightknit community of Iqaluit felt like home, and she was inspired by the resourcefulness and resilience of Inuit and northern residents. She lived and worked in Iqaluit for more than 10 years after her release.

Looking back, she loved being posted to the far north, and participating in the organization of the annual Operation Nanook during her years with the Iqaluit Detachment. Unfortunately, that would be her last posting.

Not only did Natalie experience a physical injury during her service, she is also a survivor of military sexual trauma. After her release, she avoided any connection to the Veteran community.

“As a female in combat arms, I often felt alone, powerless, and under constant pressure to prove myself. I sincerely hope that my story may resonate with others so that they feel comforted, empowered, and encouraged to find their own voices as well as their own path to healing.”

In 2020, during the pandemic, she packed up and moved to Ottawa with her spouse and three children. There, she heard about the Pepper Pod, a retreat centre that supports and inspires women who are still serving or in the Canadian Veteran community—including female Veterans and spouses of Veterans.

It was a Pepper Pod member—and former Invictus competitor—who encouraged Natalie to apply for the Invictus Games. She took a leap of faith, applied and made the team.

Natalie Chafe-Yuan at the 2023 Invictus Games Training Camp.

Training camp was the first time she had been back among military members in almost 15 years, and she realized how much she missed the camaraderie and the shared past. After an overwhelmingly positive experience, Natalie now feels more motivated to get involved and stay connected with the Veteran community as well as the world of sports.

She will, once again, wear the maple leaf on her shoulder as she puts on her Invictus uniform and represents Team Canada in rowing, swimming, and sitting volleyball.

“My kids get to see mom in a new and inspiring role, and that has helped me regain some feelings of confidence and pride.”

The strength and determination of Natalie’s team members, competitors, and other Veterans are what inspire and motivate her to show up for Team Canada and do her best.

She is proud to be a female competitor reminding herself: “I am strong, I am powerful, and I am in control.”

Canada is cheering you on, Natalie!

You are strong. You are powerful. You are in control.

With courage, integrity and loyalty, Natalie Chafe-Yuan has left her mark. She is one of our Canadian Veterans. Discover more stories.

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