Former U.S. Army Surgeon General James Peake, who retired as a decorated lieutenant general in 2004 after 40 years in servicemany as a military physicianhas been nominated by President Bush for the top post at the Veterans Affairs Department.
Bush called Peake, 63, a strong, new leader, and lauded the Vietnam combat veteran for his public service. While noting that Peake has earned two Purple Hearts for combat injuries, the president said Peake understands military medical issues from both sides of the hospital bed, as both a patient and a physician.
Peake called the nomination a high honor, adding that while its an honor, this is not an honorary position. Theres a lot of work to be done.
Pending confirmation by the Senate, Peake will replace Gordon Mansfield, who has been serving as acting secretary since Oct. 1. Jim Nicholson, the former VA secretary, resigned in July.
Peake currently is the chief medical director and chief operating officer of QTC Management, a major private provider of government-outsourced occupational health and disability examination services, as well as electronic medical records. He also served as COO and executive vice president for Project HOPE from 2005 to 2006.
Peake was the Army surgeon general and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command from 2000 through 2004. -- by Matthew DoBias