Obama to Nominate Shinseki as Veterans Affairs Secretary on Pearl Harbor Day

World | December 7, 2008, Sunday // 00:00

US President-elect Barack Obama will nominate retired General Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, leading world agencies reported, citing two Democratic sources.

Obama is expected to make the formal announcement at a news conference in Chicago on Sunday - the day when the US commemorates the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

General Shinseki has been born in 1942 in Hawaii, in a family with Japanese roots. He had graduated from the West Point Academy. Shinseki served two combat tours in Vietnam and commanded the Army's 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He also served as commander of Army forces in Europe and as chief of NATO's SFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

For years, the highly decorated Vietnam veteran has been the patron saint of Pentagon critics who say the former Army chief's sage advice was ignored in 2003, resulting in too few U.S. troops being sent to Iraq after the invasion.

Eric Shinseki retired as Army chief of staff in June 2003. He was the first Asian-American to reach the top spot in the US Army and now becomes the first Asian-American to join Obama's Cabinet.

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