Sloan Gibson. (Courtesy VA.)

President Obama on Friday said he appointed Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson to serve as temporary head of the VA as he chooses a permanent replacement for former secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned that morning amid growing calls for his removal.

The Senate confirmed Gibson as the VA’s No. 2 in February. He previously led the United Services Organizations, which supports troops and their families. He is a 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy who served as an infantry officer in the Army, in addition to earning airborne and ranger qualifications.

The interim VA chief spent more than 20 years working in the banking industry, retiring in 2004 from AmSouth Bancorporation, where he was vice chairman and chief financial officer.

Obama noted that Gibson comes from a long line of military veterans. His father served as a B-17 tail-gunner during World War II as a member of the Army Air Corps who later earned a commission in the U.S. Air Force. His grandfather served as an Army infantryman in World War I.

During Gibson’s time with the USO, net fundraising for the organization grew 90 percent, allowing for expansions of the groups programs and facilities, according to the interim secretary’s VA biography.

Obama awarded Gibson with the 2011 National Medal of Arts for “lifting the spirits of service members and their families through the arts,” according to an announcement of the award.

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