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 Home > News & Policies > December 2007

For Immediate Release
December 20, 2007

Fact Sheet: Lt. Gen. James B. Peake (Ret.), M.D.: "A Worthy and Strong Leader" for Our Nation's Veterans
President Bush Participates In Ceremonial Swearing-In Of Former Army
Surgeon General With Lifetime Of Military Medical Experience As VA Secretary

     Fact sheet President Bush Attends Swearing In of Secretary of Veterans Affairs

"The Secretary is charged with a solemn responsibility: to ensure our nation's veterans receive the care and the benefits they deserve. Dr. Jim Peake has the skills and experience to carry out this mission. He is both the first physician and the first general to lead this department. Throughout his long career, Dr. Peake has worked to improve the way we deliver medical care to our troops. And thanks to his efforts, many who once might have died on the battlefield have returned home to live lives of hope and promise."

- President George W. Bush, 12/20/07

President Bush: "I Am Confident That You Will Have A Worthy And Strong Leader In Our New Secretary"

Dr. Peake was awarded the Silver Star, a Bronze Star with 'V' device and oak leaf cluster, and Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster for his service in Vietnam as a platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division.

  • Dr. Peake was wounded twice in battle and received his acceptance letter to Cornell University Medical College while in the hospital recovering from injury. He attended medical school through an Army scholarship and then returned to the Army for his medical internships and residencies.

  • As Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) noted, Dr. Peake's "time as an infantry officer gave [him] a unique warrior's perspective on how our wounded should be cared for." (Committee On Appropriations, Subcommittee On Defense, Hearing, U.S. Senate, 4/8/04)

From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Peake served as the 40th Surgeon General of the United States Army. In this position, he commanded 50,000 medical personnel and 187 army medical facilities worldwide with an operating budget of almost $5 billion.

Dr. Peake was also commander in several medical posts, and is credited with improving the training and techniques of the Army medical force. Notably, Dr. Peake served as Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School - the largest medical training facility in the world, with over 30,000 students.

Dr. Peake has been honored with the Order of Military Medical Merit; the "A" Professional Designator; and the Medallion, Surgeon General of the United States. His awards and decorations also include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and an Air Medal. Dr. Peake wears the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Dr. Peake's Private Sector Experience Managing Medical Examinations For Veterans And Separating Soldiers Further Qualifies Him To Serve As VA Secretary

Dr. Peake recently served as the Chief Medical Director and Chief Operating Officer of QTC Management, Inc. QTC serves veterans and separating soldiers by providing timely medical examination and electronic medical record services to help government agencies manage medical data and information in a cost-effective manner.

From 2004 to 2006, Dr. Peake was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Project HOPE, a non-profit international health foundation with offices and programs in more than 30 different countries on five continents. While at Project HOPE, Dr. Peake helped to orchestrate the use of civilian volunteers aboard the Navy Hospital Ship Mercy as it responded to the tsunami in Indonesia and aboard the Hospital Ship Comfort as part of the Hurricane Katrina response.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: "An Extraordinary Career Of Service"

President's Commission On Care For America's Returning Wounded Warriors Co-Chair And Former Senator Bob Dole: "He's been on both sides. He was a patient after he was wounded in Vietnam, and he spent much of his career as a caregiver." (Michael A. Fletcher and William Branigin, "Ex-Army Doctor, Vietnam Vet Nominated As VA Secretary," The Washington Post, 10/31/07)

American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser: "He seems uniquely qualified to lead the department." ("Legion Pleased Peake Tapped to Lead Veterans Affairs," Press Release, 10/30/07)

VFW National Commander George Lisicki: Gen. Peake "certainly has the prerequisite credentials and organizational skills to lead the second-largest federal department." ("VFW Hopes New Nominee is a Strong Veterans Advocate," Press Release, 10/30/07)

The San Antonio Express News: "It is clear that the department needs someone with his credentials in medicine." (Editorial, "VA Nominee Boasts The Right Experience," The San Antonio [TX] Express-News, 11/6/07)

The Orlando Sentinel: "His bona fides are indisputable." (Editorial, "The Right Choice," The Orlando [FL] Sentinel, 11/5/07)

The Chicago Sun-Times: "For the first time ever, a doctor and military general has been named to lead the Veterans Affairs." (Editorial, "Nominee Just Might Be The One We Need To Head The VA," The Chicago Sun-Times, 11/1/07)