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Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

President-elect: ‘Both he and I share a reverence for those who serve’

NBC News and news services
updated 1 hour, 45 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama has selected retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, telling NBC News in an exclusive interview that "both he and I share a reverence for those who serve."

"I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home," said Obama in the interview, airing Sunday on "Meet the Press."

Who is General Eric K. Shinseki
Retired Chief of Staff
United States Army

General Shinseki assumed duties as the 34th Chief of Staff, United States Army, on 22 June 1999.

General Shinseki graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in English Literature from Duke University. General Shinseki’s military education includes the Armor Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.

Since his commissioning, General Shinseki has served in a variety of command and staff assignments both in the Continental United States and overseas, to include two combat tours with the 9th and 25th Infantry Divisions in the Republic of Vietnam as an Artillery Forward Observer and as Commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry. He has served in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks with Headquarters, United States Army Hawaii, and Fort Shafter with Headquarters, United States Army Pacific. He has taught at the United States Military Academy’s Department of English. During duty with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, he served as the Regimental Adjutant and as the Executive Officer of its 1st Squadron.

General Shinseki’s ten-plus years of service in Europe included assignments as the Commander, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry (Schweinfurt); the Commander, 2nd Brigade, (Kitzingen); the Assistant Chief of Staff G3 (Operations, Plans and Training) (Wuerzburg); and the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver (Schweinfurt), all with the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). He served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations, Plans and Training), VII Corps (Stuttgart). General Shinseki served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Support, Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (Verona, Italy), an element of the Allied Command Europe.

From March 1994 to July 1995, General Shinseki commanded the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. In July 1996, he was promoted to lieutenant general and became the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, United States Army. In June 1997, General Shinseki was appointed to the rank of general before assuming duties as the Commanding General, United States Army Europe; Commander, Allied Land Forces Central Europe; and Commander, NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. General Shinseki assumed duties as the 28th Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army on 24 November 1998.

General Shinseki has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star Medal with “V�� Device (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Forgot one Badge awarded by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

It was the, "You Disagreed with us in public badge"!

When he said that we didn't have enough troops on the ground before Congress. Rumsfeld picked a replacement for him before his tenure as Chief of Staff was over.

Bush should have replaced Rumsfeld because more troops eventually had to be sent in 2007, "Just as the General predicted in 2003".

Shinseki is a decent pick, not my pick I was hoping Tammy Duckworth would get the job.

But Hey! This guy went to Tank School, so he can't be that bad!

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Upon leaving his post in June 2003, Shinseki in his farewell speech sternly warned against arrogance in leadership.

"You must love those you lead before you can be an effective leader," he said. "You can certainly command without that sense of commitment, but you cannot lead without it. And without leadership, command is a hollow experience, a vacuum often filled with mistrust and arrogance."

Shinseki also left with the warning: "Beware a 12-division strategy for a 10-division army."

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Another article:

Obama picks Shinseki for veterans affairs
By Jeff Mason – Sat Dec 6, 8:39 pm ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has selected retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, who clashed with the Bush administration over the number of troops needed in Iraq, to be the next secretary of veterans affairs.

Obama's announcement was made in a television interview taped on Saturday that is to be aired in full on Sunday.

Shinseki famously clashed with the administration of President George W. Bush over how many troops would be needed to stabilize Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion.

Shinseki served in the Army for 38 years and lost part of his right foot during one of two combat tours in Vietnam.

He served as Chief of Staff of the Army from 1999 to 2003.

Obama planned to announce the appointment at a news conference on Sunday that coincides with the anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese airstrikes on the U.S. base in Hawaii that brought the United States into World War Two.

"I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home," Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press" in a clip aired by NBC News on Saturday.

"Meet the Press" moderator Tom Brokaw noted Shinseki had lost his job in the Bush administration because he said more troops were needed in Iraq than then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wanted.

"He was right," Obama said of Shinseki.

Rumsfeld and then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz heaped scorn on Shinseki for testifying before Congress that several hundred thousand U.S. troops might be needed to stabilize Iraq.

Shinseki retired as the Army's top officer in June 2003.

In his retirement speech, Shinseki chastised those who display "mistrust and arrogance" in military leadership and warned against over-committing the Army.

Shinseki was born in Hawaii to Japanese-American parents. Obama noted their shared home state when describing the reasoning for his selection.

"He has agreed that he is willing to be part of this administration because both he and I share a reverence for those who serve. I grew up in Hawaii, as he did."

Obama's news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST on Sunday.

Obama pledged during his presidential campaign to improve services for retired U.S. military men and women if he won the White House.

The news conference is his latest in a string of announcements of appointments to his Cabinet and other top administration posts.

Shinseki would need Senate confirmation to the position.

Others names that had surfaced as possibilities for the veterans affairs post included Max Cleland, a former U.S. senator who lost three limbs in the Vietnam war, and Tammy Duckworth, who heads Illinois veterans affairs department and lost both of her legs in the Iraq war.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

I was hoping for Tammy Duckworth. also , But as I see it Shinseki is a beter choice. Maybe Tammy will get the senate seat, vacated by Obama. s we cavalry folks would say. If you ain't cavalry, You ain't ****. Welcome aboard Gen Shinseki.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

I also think it was agood choice. Grant- as a combat
"grunt" 11B RTO, I don't paticularly care to hear about if You ain't "Cav" You ain't s**t! So to me
no branch is better than the other. It took everyone
of Us to be successful. Medics had it the worse. So yes I take that comment somewhat personal. I can put up with most the stuff that is posted here. Don't degrade
Me or My branch that I served without choice.Thats
all that I have to say.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Great Choice! Too bad the last administration hadn't heeded his words.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Hey FormerGrunt, look at it this way - apparently unlike the cavalry, we in the Rangers never really saw any value in being ****, so we had any actual ambition to be that. In fact, I guess that you could say that it was one our major goals to have paramilitary folks like the cavalry and the boy scouts to recognize and acknowledge that we weren't ****.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

I don't know if its the same unit the General was in, but My tank platoon out of C-2/34th Armor 25id out of Chu Chi was attached to the 3rd of the 5th Cav. (Black Knights) back in 69 for about 2 weeks up in I Corp.

Not wanting to step on any toes here, but I gotta say that they were not my favorite unit to serve under.

We were Heavy Armor unit Most trained in Germany like myself for 3 years in the 3rd Armored Div. (Spearhead). I guess when you get Heavy Armored Guys and Cav guys together you can expect a certain amount of friction.

Actually I was glad to go back to supporting the 506th of the 101st Abn. We never went back to Chu Chi we just stayed in I Corp, I think the 101st just adopted us.

From My own Experience supporting the 101st in the Ashau Valley, I will have agree with FormerGrunt,,,,"We all Da same"!

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

I didn't know You were a Ranger. When at Ft. Benning
We transported Them To: Dalonega, Ga. and Florida
phase Eglin AFB. I guess this is one way of looking at it. Guess glad I'm not ****. "Mess with the best!"
"Die like the rest"!

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

FormerGrunt, I was a member of the Ranger Department out at Harmony Church from November '67 until I went to Nam in October of '68. But I actually attended Ranger School in Ranger Class 2 in the summer of '68.

We trucked up to Dahlonega, but we flew down to Eglin - actually to Ft. Walton and then trucked to Eglin from there.

Ranger School was physically the most difficult thing that I have ever done, including two combat tours in Viet Nam. But the Ranger Department was just about the best duty I ever had in the Army.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Former Grunt Sorry you did not get the meaning of the old cavalry saying o if you aint cavalry you aint ****. it has the same meaning of Queen of battle, King of battle, combat arm of decision , follow me, Rangers lead the way. Semper fi. Or any thing that gives spirit to a branch.. I am at a very large Navy base where all branch's are represented. and I am constantly reminded that we are all family. My salutation was to and for Gen Shinseki who is a Armor/ Cavalry officer.A cavalry scout will serve in any branch

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Not a problem. I guess I did look at it the wrong way.
No matter what, still "a band of Brothers"
Roger that?

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Former Grunt, I too am a former grunt. Iwas trained as a 60mm mortar gunner and a 57 mm RR gunner with the IL national guard 1952- 56. and as a 111.10 with the 512th Armored inf regt. CCA 4th armd Div Ft hood Tx. 1956 I was assigned to the rifle squad of B troop 3rd ACR in 1959 The rifle squad would lead the tanks through the woods and run behind when we came to a clearing. I got tired of running behind the M 41 tanks with a BAR and asked to drive a M59 APC and then became a scout. As a scout I have served in the recon platoon of tank and Infantry Batallions to includ 3/6 Inf 4/18 Inf 1/38 inf The entire time that I served in the army I carried a secondary MOS of 11 B and 11 E and earned pro pay in one or the other So I hope that you understand that I am also a proud grunt and the salutation refers to the consept of cavalry which is Mobility, firepower and schok action which you must admit is awesome in a cavalry unit A rifle platoon in Viet nam had not a fraction of the firepower or ammo of a cavalry platoon or the beer and soda So in the perspective of caryingrations,sundries clothing,fuel and other supplies and performing the mission of Recon, Survielance, economy of force. If you aint cavalry, you aint, ****. This is not an insult to the other combat arms, It is a fact.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Dang, Grant, I knew that you were a retired old soldier, but I didn't realize that you were a genuine brown-shoe Army man.

I hope that you recognized my remarks for the same old nose-pulling stuff the various outfits have always done with one another. Its kind of like a Ranger going over to an SF table in the I-bar at Benning, pouring himself a beer out of their pitcher and dropping a buck on the table - a sort of semi-friendly one-upsmanship.

As luck would have it, I was first a heavy weapons man, myself - but by 1966 we were using 81mm mortars (still learned the 60, though)and the 90mm and 106mm RRs.

I also spent the last half of my first tour in Nam in a Mech Infantry outfit - after spending the first half in a leg rifle platoon. So I understand the relative joy of being able to carry ****ed near anything that you could get your hands on.

And there was nothing quite like having 12 or more machine guns for my platoon - it made for a serious base of fire. I even ran the 2/8th's Scout platoon for my last couple of months in country. 'Course I also remember that APCs were RPG magnets, so there was some off-setting cost involved. But, still, life with armor was unquestionably better.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

I was drafted, kicking and screaming. Does that make me an original "Brown Pants" army man?

Yep the caliverrrrrrr

Ask Custer.but he ain't around.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Tanks are cool but One bad thing about being a Tanker is, "If you Break it you Fix it"!

This one was my fault because, I didn't listen to my Driver when he tried to tell me that there might just be a Mine hidden in those bushes. It took the three of us about 6 hours to replace the damaged Track three road wheels and other things that the mine destroyed.

and another 2 days to get over our Bloody Noses from the Concussion!

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

I sat up all night dyeing my shoes from brown to black for my graduation from Basic training on 1 Sept 1956 Our boots change from brown to black on 5 May 1958 Yes I am a brown boot herring bone twill,
Ike jacket Soldier. The good ole days of potatoe salad and cold cuts on saturday and milk from a stainless steel pitcher.

Re: Obama taps Shinseki as VA secretary

Hey Jinxs, I did'nt know that you sang that song , boom boom bang bang , clank clank I'm a tank.