Eric K. Shinseki life and biography

Eric K. Shinseki  picture, image, poster

Eric K. Shinseki biography

Date of birth : 1942-11-28
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Lihue, Hawaii, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Politics
Last modified : 2010-06-23
Credited as : Politician, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Obama administration

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Eric Shinseki (also known as: Eric Ken Shinseki, Eric K. Shinseki) born November 28, 1942 in Lihue, Hawaii, United States is an American army official, government official .

Eric K. Shinseki became secretary of veterans affairs when President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Shinseki, 66 years old at the time of his confirmation by the U.S. Senate, is a retired army chief of staff whose questioning of the George W. Bush administration's strategy in the second Iraqi war generated headlines. Shinseki was the first Japanese American to become a four-star general.

Received Two Purple Hearts

Shineski was born in Lihue, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. He was a Boy Scout and student body president at Kauai High School. Shineski graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1965, after which he served in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts for bravery. He stepped on a mine and lost enough of his foot that the army wanted to discharge him.

He obtained his master's degree from Duke University and taught English for two years at West Point. Other positions Shinseki held were commanding general of the 1st Calvary Division at Fort Hook, Texas, and commanding general of the U.S. Army, Europe. In 1999, less than one year after Shinseki became vice chief of staff, President Bill Clinton named him the army's thirty-fourth chief of staff. In his four years in that position, Shinseki sought to modernize the Army.

Questioned Iraqi War Strategy

For most of his tenure as chief of staff, working relations between Shinseki and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld were tense. In February of 2003, on the cusp of the second Iraqi War, Shinseki testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that as many as several hundred thousand ground troops would be needed to successfully invade that country. He also foresaw ethnic skirmishes leading to a myriad of other problems.

Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, downplayed Shinseki's troop estimate, and the general was essentially marginalized. Shineski retired in 2003 after 38 years of military service. Pentagon critics praised Shinseki as a visionary after President Bush in early 2007 announced that a troop surge would be necessary to hold off sectarian uprisings.

Obama Named Him to Cabinet

On December 7, 2008, the anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in Shineski's native Hawaii, Obama named him secretary of veterans affairs. The Senate confirmed him on January 20, 2009, the day of Obama's inauguration. Shinseki oversees 240,000 employees in the second-largest federal department, behind the Pentagon.

Shinseki hopes to simplify operations, with an emphasis on victims of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. He also wants to streamline the process for filing disability claims and work to solve the department's problem of misplacing medical records.

Shinseki married his high school sweetheart, Patricia Yoshinobu. They have two adult children, Lori and Ken. The U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii has an exhibit in Shinseki's honor, which opened in 2004 and chronicles his life.

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