President-elect Barack Obama announced yesterday that General Eric Shinseki would be his nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. General Shinseki is a former Army Chief of Staff and 38-year Army veteran who served two combat tours in Vietnam. He understands the changing needs of our troops and their families and shares President-elect Obama’s commitment to modernizing the VA to meet the challenges of our time.
“Throughout his nearly four decades in the U.S. Army, he won the respect and admiration of our men and women in uniform because they have always been his highest priority,” President-elect Obama said. “He has always stood on principle – because he has always stood with our troops. And he will bring that same sense of duty and commitment to ensuring that we treat our veterans with the care and dignity they deserve.”
Born in Hawaii to a Japanese-American family, Eric Shinseki graduated from West Point in 1965. He went on to serve in the Army for 38 years, from 1965 to 2003, including two combat tours in Vietnam, where he lost part of his right foot. He served as Chief of Staff of the Army from 1999-2003.
General Shinseki has commanded troops from Vietnam to the Balkans, and his career has been marked by innovation, vision, and fierce loyalty to the troops who served under him. He is the recipient of numerous decorations, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Legion of Merit, and the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals.