Togo D. West, Jr. facts for kids
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|3rd United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs|
May 4, 1998 – July 10, 2000
|Preceded by||Jesse Brown|
|Succeeded by||Anthony Principi|
|United States Secretary of the Army|
November 22, 1993 – May 4, 1998
|Preceded by||Gordon Sullivan (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Mike Walker (Acting)|
|General Counsel of the Navy|
April 22, 1977 – January 13, 1979
|Preceded by||Grey Lewis|
|Succeeded by||Coleman Hicks|
Togo Dennis West Jr.
June 21, 1942
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||March 8, 2018
Caribbean Sea aboard cruiseliner between Barbados and Puerto Rico
|Education||Howard University (BS, JD)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1965–1973|
|Unit||Army Judge Advocate General's Corps|
|Awards||Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal
Togo Dennis West Jr. (June 21, 1942 – March 8, 2018) was an attorney and public official who was the third United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was picked by President Bill Clinton on January 27, 1998, during Clinton's second term, and was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 5, 1998. Before that, he had served as United States Secretary of the Army under Clinton, from 1993 to 1997. He was the second African American to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
West was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; there, he became an Eagle Scout with Bronze Palms, and attended Atkins High School (where his parents were teachers), graduating as valedictorian in 1959. After that, he entered Howard University, getting a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering in 1965, and a Juris Doctor in 1968, receiving cum laude honors and graduating first in his class. While a freshman at Howard University, he became a member of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. West is also a member of the Kappa Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. While a student at the Howard University School of Law, West became the managing editor for the Howard Law Journal; he also met Gail Berry, who became his wife. The Wests later had two daughters.
A member of St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, he served as a vestryman and Senior Warden.
He has been named a Distinguished Eagle Scout by the Boy Scouts of America and was awarded the Silver Buffalo Award for his national contributions to America’s youth. He is the President of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
After completing law school and clerking for a federal judge, West entered the United States Army and served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. From his military service, he earned the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal. He subsequently practiced law at the firm of Covington & Burling before being appointed an associate deputy attorney general in the administration of President Gerald Ford. Then, West held several posts in the administration of Jimmy Carter: general counsel to the Navy (1977-1979), special assistant to the secretary and to the deputy secretary of defense (1979), and general counsel to the Department of Defense (1980-1981).
West returned to private practice in 1981 with the firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and later worked as senior vice president for government relations of the Northrop Corporation until he became a member of the Clinton administration.
Since leaving the government, West has worked as a lawyer and has served as president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington-based think tank that works on issues that are important to minorities. He is also a strong supporter of and past board member of the Mount Vernon preservation society.
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