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James Benjamin Peake
6th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
In office
December 20, 2007Ā ā€“ 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
Branch/service United States Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Unit Medical Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War

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

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

Lt. Gen. James B. Peake at Fort McCoy 9 April 2003
Lt. Gen. James B. Peake during his tour of Fort McCoy

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 ā€œVā€ 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.

Post-military career

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.

Secretary of Veterans' Affairs

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

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