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Fact Sheet: Lt. Gen. James B. Peake (Ret.), M.D.: The Best Choice for Our Nation's Veterans

October 30, 2007

President Bush To Nominate Former Army Surgeon General With Lifetime Of Military Medical Experience To Serve As VA Secretary

Today, President Bush announced his intention to nominate Lieutenant General James B. Peake (Ret.), M.D., to serve as our Nation's Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Peake is a highly decorated veteran who has dedicated his life to caring for the wounded. As he said in remarks praising senior noncommissioned officers before his 2004 Army retirement: "All my life I've been with Army medicine. My father was a medical services officer, and my mother was an Army nurse." His distinguished military career began in 1966 with service as an infantry officer in Vietnam, for which he received the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster for wounds sustained in battle. He retired from the Army in 2004, following service as lead commander in several medical posts, including four years as the U.S. Army Surgeon General.

Dr. Peake's Career Spans Over 40 Years In The Field Of Military Medicine, During Which Time He Helped Develop Many Of Today's Lifesaving Battlefield Medical Techniques

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.

  •'s Tom Philpott: "[I]mproved training, now being used to great effect in Iraq and Afghanistan, was largely the vision of retired Lt. Gen. James Peake … in the late 1990s [as Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School] and during his tour as Army surgeon general from 2000 through 2004." (Tom Philpott, "Military Update," The Honolulu Advertiser, 11/14/05)

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 now serves 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.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Lt. Gen. James B. Peake (Ret.), M.D.: The Best Choice for Our Nation's Veterans Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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