“A Chance To Care For People”: Service As The Chief Of Staff And The Secretary Of Veterans Affairs

Eric Shinseki


GEN(R) Ric Shinseki grew up in Hawaii, attended West Point, and graduated with the Class of 1965. He served two tours in Vietnam and was wounded both times. His second wound was so serious that he had to apply to remain on active duty. After teaching English at West Point, he fought to get back to the operational army. The turning point in his career was his assignment to 3ACR, where he proved himself physically capable of the rigors of active service. Near the end of his remarkable career, he was selected as the 34th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, and following retirement, he was appointed as the 7th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In this interview, he talks about his childhood in Hawaii, the influence World War II veterans and his own Soldiers had on his development as a leader, and his fight to remain on Active Duty. He discusses his time as the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and some of the opportunities and challenges he encountered. Finally, he provides perspective and lessons for today’s leaders.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics West Point History Military Families Military Family Military Techniques Injuries USMA 1965
interviewer Fredric Laughlin
date 18 May 2017


name Eric Shinseki
institution USMA
graduation year 1965
service Field Artillery / Armor
unit 25th ID; A TRP 3/5 CAV; 3ACR; 3/7 CAV
specialty Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
service dates 1965 2003