Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has served this country with honor and distinction for 49 years, from the time he graduated top of his class at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1965. Having served as an artillery officer in Vietnam he sustained injuries from a land mine, thus earning him a purples heart.
Shinseki attended the Command and General Staff College, Duke University and the National Defense University. Both following and during his education, Shinseki served as commander the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. In July 1996, he was promoted to lieutenant general and became Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, United States Army.
He is a combat veteran who understands the unique needs of veterans and their families. The secretary also has a proven record of steadfast support for veteran mental health benefits. We at the Military Mental Health Project are proud to stand with Secretary Shinseki.
We are asking the veterans service organizations and Congress to allow Shinseki time to right the wrongs and correct the systemic issues within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Shinseki showed us that his values align with the military community and the nation when he stood up to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over U.S. troop deployment to Iraq in 2003. As chief of staff for the U.S. Army, he pointed out concerns over the amount of troops needed to sustain a postwar Iraq.
Military Mental Health Project supporters in a online poll made it clear that they did not want Shinseki to resign. In private messages sent to MMHP staff, supporters identified some concerns over the potential successor, being worried that he or she would “not be as familiar or understand the challenges facing this new generation of veterans and families.”
Angel is co-founder and executive director of the Military Mental Health Project, an Arlington, Virginia-based veterans and mental health advocacy organization founded in 2013. For more information please visit their website at www.militarymentalhealthproject.com