10 Things You Didn’t Know About Gen. Eric Shinseki

President-elect Barack Obama named Shinseki secretary of Veterans Affairs.

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Gen. Eric Shinseki

1. Eric K. Shinseki was born on Nov. 28, 1942, in Lihue, which is located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

2. Shinseki was a Boy Scout growing up in Hawaii and attended Kauai High School, where he was student body president.

3. Shinseki is married to his high school sweetheart, Patricia Yoshinobu. They have two grown children, Lori and Ken.

4. The recipient of two Purple Hearts, Shinseki was sent to Vietnam six months after graduating from West Point in 1965. During his two tours in Vietnam, he served as an artillery forward observer and base commander.

5. During one of his tours in Vietnam, Shinseki was severely injured when he stepped on a mine.

6. In addition to being a West Point graduate, Shinseki received a master's degree in English from Duke University. He returned to West Point to teach English for two years.

7. Less than a year after becoming Army vice chief of staff, Shinseki was appointed to serve as the Army's chief of staff by President Clinton. Shinseki became the 34th Army chief of staff on June 22, 1999.

8. During his four years serving as Army chief of staff, Shinseki was a proponent of transforming the Army. He wanted "to make the Army lighter, more modular, and—most importantly—more deployable." The "Future Combat System" was created by the Army to help with the transformation.

9. When Shinseki retired from the military in 2003, he had served for 38 years. During his career, he held numerous positions, including commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood in Texas and commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe.

10. The U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii is home to "The General Eric K. Shinseki Exhibit." The exhibit, which opened in 2004, documents the general's life, beginning with his childhood in Hawaii all the way to his military career.

Sources:

  • Associated Press Financial Wire
  • Associated Press State & Local Wire
  • Associated Press Worldstream
  • Congressional Research Service Reports and Issue Briefs
  • Hawaii Army Museum Society
  • The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, HI)
  • Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Hawaii)
  • The New York Times
  • The New Yorker
  • USA Today
  • States News Service