Eric Shinseki (1942 – )

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“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

– General Eric Shinseki

U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs, 2009 – 2014

Eric Shinseki served as the United States Secretary of Veteran Affairs from 2009 to 2014 and was the 34th Chief of Staff of the Army from 1999 to 2003. He is the first Asian American Secretary of Veteran Affairs and the first Asian American four-star general.

Shinseki is a veteran of two tours of combat in the Vietnam War and was awarded three Bronze Star Medals for valor and two Purple Hearts. He has also been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, and Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Clusters), among other awards.

Shinseki was born in Lihue, Kaua’i to Japanese parents from Hiroshima and born within a year of the Pearl Harbor Attack. He graduated from the United States Military Academy (BS) and Duke University (MA) and went on to serve 38 years in the military.


“General Eric K. Shinseki – The Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army,” n.d.,

“Eric K. Shinseki | United States General,” Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d.,“Eric Shinseki,” Ballotpedia, accessed January 11, 2021,

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