Wednesday, January 14, 2009 CONTACT:
Phone: (202) 224-3154
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, lauded the nomination of General Eric Shinseki, President-elect Obama's choice to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. General Shinseki appeared before the committee today and answered questions about his planned priorities as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
"I have met with General Shinseki and have reviewed his extensive credentials. I believe it is clear that he has the experience and leadership skills needed to serve in this very important and challenging role," Burr said.
General Shinseki, a highly decorated veteran, served two tours in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts for his wounds suffered in combat service there. He had a distinguished 38-year career in the Army, reaching the rank of general, and ultimately served as the Army's 34th Chief of Staff. He is a 1965 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and he continued his studies at Duke University, where he received his Masters Degree. Later he studied at the United States Army Command and General Staff College and at the National War College.
When confirmed, General Shinseki will face many challenges in his role as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, such as making sure that servicemembers who leave the military are quickly and effectively provided with benefits and services to ensure that they experience a seamless transition back to civilian life. There are many additional challenges, such as ensuring that veterans have access to quality health care and making sure that the implementation of the new 21st century GI Bill goes smoothly so that veterans will get their earned education benefits on time.
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