James Peake

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James Benjamin Peake
6th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
In office
December 20, 2007 – January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Jim Nicholson
Succeeded by Eric Shinseki
Personal details
Born June 18, 1944
Saint Louis, Missouri
Alma mater United States Military Academy
Weill Cornell Medical College (Cornell University)
United States Army War College
Profession Soldier, Physician
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Unit Medical Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal
Joint Services Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Navy Meritorious Unit Award
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Senior Parachutist Badge
Pathfinder Badge
Combat Medic Badge
Army Staff Identification Badge

James Benjamin Peake (born June 18, 1944) was United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2007 to 2009. In 2004, he retired after 42 years in the United States Army. He also served as the 40th Surgeon General of the United States Army.

Early life[change | change source]

Peake was born in Saint Louis, Missouri. Peake grew up in a US military family. His father joined the Army as an enlisted man, and became an officer who spent most of his 30-year career in the Medical Service Corps. Dr. Peake's mother was an Army nurse, and his brother was a naval aviator.

Military career[change | change source]

At the age of 18, he joined the Army when he was accepted to West Point. Peake received his Bachelor of Science degree from U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1966 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry. Following service in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division where he was awarded the Silver Star, a Bronze Star with “V” device and the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, Peake entered medical school at Cornell University in New York. He was awarded a medical doctorate in 1972. He retired from the Army in 2004, as a Lieutenant General.

Peake served for four years as the United States Army Surgeon General. He also served as commander of several Army medical units. Key assignments include Commander, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School and Installation Commander, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Commanding General, Madigan Army Medical Center/Northwest Health Service Support Activity, Tacoma, Washington; Commanding General, 44th Medical Brigade/Corps Surgeon, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Deputy Director, Professional Services/Chief, Consultant, Office of the Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia; Commander, 18th Medical Command and 121st Evacuation Hospital/Command Surgeon, Seoul, Korea; Deputy Commander for Clinical Services, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii; Assistant Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Staff General Surgeon/Chief, General Surgery Clinic, DeWitt Army Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Va.; and General Surgery Resident, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Awards and decorations that Lt. Gen. Peake has received include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with three oak leaf clusters), Bronze Star with "V" device (with one oak leaf cluster), Purple Heart (with one oak leaf cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Air Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with "V" device (with one oak leaf cluster), Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with one oak leaf cluster), Senior Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Ranger Tab, Combat Medic Badge and Army Staff Identification Badge. After Vietnam, he attended Cornell University's Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also a graduate of the United States Army War College, in 1988.[1]

Post-military career[change | change source]

After retiring from the Army, Dr. Peake served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Project Hope, a non-profit international health foundation operating in more than 30 countries. While at Project HOPE he helped to supervise the use of civilian volunteers aboard the Navy Hospital Ship Mercy as it responded to the Tsunami disaster in Indonesia and also as part of the Hurricane Katrina response aboard the Hospital Ship Comfort.

Just before to his nomination as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Peake served as a member of the Board of Directors for QTC, one of the largest private providers of government-outsourced occupational health and disability examination services in the United States.

Secretary of Veterans' Affairs[change | change source]

Peake's selection as VA secretary was announced on October 30, 2007. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 14, 2007[2] and sworn in at VA headquarters by Vice President Dick Cheney on December 20.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bush Nominates New Veterans Secretary, by Deb Reichman, Associated Press, 10/30/07
  2. VA Official Biography - The Honorable James B. Peake. Accessed 21 December 2007
  3. UPI. Peake sworn in as VA secretary, Dec 20, 2007. Accessed 21 Dec 2007.

Other websites[change | change source]

Preceded by
Lt. Gen. Ronald R. Blanck
Surgeon General of the United States Army
September 22, 2000–July 8, 2004
Succeeded by
Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley