Shinseki, a Japanese-American born in Hawaii, won two Purple Hearts in Vietnam for injuries that included the loss of part of his right foot. He vowed improve a Department of Veterans Affairs that has been widely criticized for failing to meet disabled veterans' needs.
President-elect Barack Obama formally announced to the American public that retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, a hero veteran and well-respected public figure among many Americans, is his pick to be secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Obama told the American public that there is no one more prominent, more determined, or qualified to build this VA than the leader he is announcing as our next secretary of Veterans Affairs -- Gen. Eric Shinseki.
Erik Shinseki was picked for this position because hehas the courage to stand up for our troops and our veterans. President Obama picked him for VA because he believes he will fight hard enough to make sure that veterans have the support they need.
Shinseki said, “Veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular are confronting serious, severe wounds — some seen, some unseen — making it difficult for them to get on with their lives in this struggling economy." Shinseki was referring in part to veterans with hidden mental health ills.
"They deserve a smooth, error-free, no-fail, benefits-assured transition into our ranks as veterans." Shinseki said.
Obama said the nation must focus on helping troops who have served their country especially during bad economic times.
Obama also said, "We don't just need to better serve veterans of today's wars. We also need to build a 21st century VA that will better serve all who have answered our nation's call.”
Obama said Shinseki, who served two combat tours in Vietnam and lost part of his foot, "understands the changing needs of our troops and their families. And he will be a VA secretary who finally modernizes our VA to meet the challenges of our time."
Shinseki, has vowed to his fellow veterans to help them and make sure that they receive the help and support they need. Shinseki goal is to make sure that they are not neglected.
Shinseki said, he will "work each and every day" to ensure the nation is serving them "as well as you have served us."
Shinseki lost his job in the Bush administration "because he said that we would need more troops in Iraq than the secretary of defense Don Rumsfeld, thought that we would need at that time."
Veterans groups appeared to support Obama decision and feel that Shinseki is the right man for the job.
Shinseki, a highly recognized Vietnam veteran and respect by everyone who know of him. Pentagon critics who say the former Army chief’s sage advice was ignored in 2003, resulting in too few U.S. troops being sent to Iraq after the invasion, have cited him as an example.
Shinseki testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2003 "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers would be required" to pacify the country. The comment infuriated some Bush administration officials, and he retired just a few months later.
In my opinion, Shinseki shows character, strength and you can tell he is not afraid to stand up for what is right in order to protect the American people. This is the type of person we need to help our military and Veteran soldiers.
Shinseki is known by his actions in the past to put patriotism above politics. He is a wounded veteran so he understands the plight of veterans."
Shinseki has already made key connections with the veteran’s community. Obama plans to keep Veteran Affairs as a top priority not as it has been in the past. Both elect Obama and Shinseki plan to provide better health care and benefits for millions of veterans