Secretary of Veterans Affairs
President Clinton in December 1997 nominated Army Secretary Togo D. West Jr. to head the Department of Veterans Affairs in January, after deputy secretary Hershel W. Gobel withdrew his nomination following allegations that he had made unwanted contact with two women. A lawyer, West has weathered several crises, including refuting allegations from conservatives that the Clinton administration gave coveted burial space in Arlington National Cemetery to big Democratic donors. West also directed the Army's handling of allegations of widespread sexual harassment of female soldiers and demanded equity for women in the nation's largest military service. He became acting VA secretary Jan. 2 and was confirmed by the Senate in April.
Nominated: Jan. 27, 1998
Succeeded: Jesse Brown
Previous Occupation: Secretary of the Army, Department of Defense, 1993-97; Senior vice president for government relations, Northrop Corp., 1990-93; Managing partner, Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, 1984-90; general counsel, Department of Defense, 1980; the special assistant to the secretary and deputy secretary of the Department of Defense, 1979-80; general counsel, Department of the Navy, 1977-79; associate deputy attorney general, Department of Justice, 1975-77; Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, 1969-73; second lieutenant in the United States Army Field Artillery Corps, 1965-68.
Education: Howard University, 1965 (B. S.); 1968, (J.D., cum laude)
Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Spouse: Gail Berry
Of note: West was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal for his military service, and, for public service, he was awarded the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Already an Eagle Scout, he was accorded the additional rank of Distinguished Eagle Scout by the Boy Scouts of America in May 1995.
Senators Voice Support for VA Nominee
Feb. 25, 1998
Army Secretary Named to Head Veterans Office
Dec. 3, 1997
Army Secretary Is Choice For Veterans Affairs Helm
Nov. 8, 1997
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company