Meet retired Army General Eric Shinseki. He has been tapped to serve as President-elect Barack Obama’s head of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Read his biography below, see photos and watch a video.

It seems The One has confirmed that General Shinseki is his choice as V.A. head in an interview that was taped for ‘Meet the Press’ and scheduled to air tomorrow. Obama called General Shinseki ‘exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home.’

General Shinseki, a 38-year veteran, is best known for his four years as Army chief of staff, and in particular his response to congressional questioning in February 2003 about troop levels necessary for a military victory in Iraq.

During those hearings, General Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers’ could be necessary for a military victory and stabilization of Iraq. His assessment, of course, was at odds with both Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Three years later, General John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command and the chief architect of U.S. military strategy in Iraq, told the same Senate committee, ‘General Shinseki was right.’ And in January 2007, President Bush ordered tens of thousands of U.S. troops back into Iraq to stabilize and secure the country – now commonly called ‘The Surge.’

Eric Shinseki Biography

Eric Ken Shinseki was born on November 28, 1942 in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii so his age is 66. His family is Japanese-American.

He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1965 (see a picture of him at the Academy below) with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant. He earned a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from Duke University. He was also educated at the Armor Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.

Within a few months of his graduation in 1965 he was a second lieutenant on his way to Vietnam to serve as an artillery forward observer. On a second combat tour he commanded a tank squadron. During those Vietnam tours he was wounded three times – including having half of his foot blown off.

General Shinseki has held a number of commands including the 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, Army Chief of Staff, Commanding General Seventh United States Army, Commander Allied Land Forces Central Europe, and Commander of NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He became the Army’s 34th Chief of Staff in 1999 and at the end of his four-year term, he retired.

General Shinseki is the first Asian American in U.S. history to be a four-star general, and the first to lead one of the five U.S. military services. His years as active military were from 1965-2003.

He is highly decorated. He 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.

His post-military career has included serving as a director for several corporations: Honeywell International and Ducommun, two military contracting companies, Grove Farm Corporation and First Hawaiian Bank.

General Eric Shinseki and his wife Patricia have two children, Lori and Ken.





General Eric Shinseki: Leadership Speaker Series Pt. 1 Video





General Eric Shinseki: Leadership Speaker Series Pt. 2 Video