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  • Guide to the Administration
    Togo D. West

    (By Bill O'Leary
    for The Washington Post)
    Togo D. West
    Secretary of Veterans Affairs

    Contact Information
    Background from The Post

    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.

    Department of Veterans Affairs
    810 Vermont Ave. NW
    Washington, D.C. 20420
    (202) 273-5400
    FAX: (202) 273-5717

    Background from The Post

    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

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