James Peake

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James Peake
6th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
In office
December 20, 2007 – January 20, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byJim Nicholson
Succeeded byEric Shinseki
Personal details
Born (1944-06-18) June 18, 1944 (age 78)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUnited States Military Academy (BS)
Cornell University (MD)
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1966–2004
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
UnitMedical Corps
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal
Joint Services Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Navy Meritorious Unit Award
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Senior Parachutist Badge
Pathfinder Badge
Combat Medical Badge
Army Staff Identification Badge

James Benjamin Peake (born June 18, 1944) was the sixth United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, serving from 2007 to 2009. In 2004, he retired from a 38-year United States Army career. He also served as the 40th Surgeon General of the United States Army.


Early life[edit]

Peake was born in St. Louis, Missouri to a military family. His father began as an enlisted man in the Army, and became an officer who spent most of his 30-year career in the Medical Corps. Peake's mother was an Army nurse, and his brother was a naval aviator.

Military career[edit]

Official portrait of Lieutenant General James Peake

At the age of 18, he set upon his own Army career when he was accepted to West Point. Peake received his Bachelor of Science degree from U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1966 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry.

Following service in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division, where he was awarded the Silver Star, a Bronze Star with "V" device and the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, Peake entered medical school at Cornell University in New York. He was awarded a medical doctorate in 1972. He retired from the Army in 2004, as a lieutenant general.

Lt. Gen. James B. Peake during his tour of Fort McCoy.

Peake served for four years as the United States Army Surgeon General. He also served as commander of several Army medical units. Previous key assignments include Commander, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School and Installation Commander, Fort Sam Houston; Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Commanding General, Madigan Army Medical Center/Northwest Health Service Support Activity, Tacoma, Washington; Commanding General, 44th Medical Brigade/Corps Surgeon, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg; Deputy Director, Professional Services/Chief, Consultant, Office of the Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia; Commander, 18th Medical Command and 121st Evacuation Hospital/Command Surgeon, Seoul, Korea; Deputy Commander for Clinical Services, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii; Assistant Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Staff General Surgeon/Chief, General Surgery Clinic, DeWitt Army Hospital, Fort Belvoir; and General Surgery Resident, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Awards and decorations that Peake has received include the Distinguished Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with three oak leaf clusters), Bronze Star with "V" device (with one oak leaf cluster), Purple Heart (with oak leaf cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Air Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with "V" device (with one oak leaf cluster), Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with one oak leaf cluster), Senior Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Ranger Tab and Army Staff Identification Badge.[1]

After Vietnam, he attended Cornell University's Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also a graduate of the United States Army War College, in 1988.[2]

Dates of rank[edit]

Rank Date
US Army O1 shoulderboard rotated.svg Second lieutenant June 8, 1966[3]
US Army O2 shoulderboard rotated.svg First lieutenant June 8, 1967[3]
US Army O3 shoulderboard rotated.svg Captain June 8, 1968[3]
US Army O4 shoulderboard rotated.svg Major July 10, 1972[3]
U.S. Army O-5 shoulderboard rotated (1959–2015).svg Lieutenant colonel July 10, 1977[3]
US Army O6 shoulderboard rotated.svg Colonel November 1, 1982[3]
US Army O7 shoulderboard rotated.svg Brigadier general April 1, 1992[3]
US Army O8 shoulderboard rotated.svg Major general March 1, 1995[3]
US Army O9 shoulderboard rotated.svg Lieutenant general September 7, 2000[3]

Post-military career[edit]

After retiring from the Army, Peake served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Project Hope,[4][5] a non-profit international health foundation operating in more than 30 countries. While at Project HOPE he helped to orchestrate the use of civilian volunteers aboard the Navy Hospital Ship Mercy as it responded to the tsunami disaster in Indonesia and also as part of the Hurricane Katrina response aboard the Hospital Ship Comfort.[6][7]

Just prior to his nomination as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Peake served as Chief Medical Officer and Chief Executive Officer for QTC,[8] one of the largest private providers of government-outsourced occupational health and disability examination services in the nation.

On December 17, 2009, CGI Group Inc., one of the largest independent information technology and business process services firms in the world, announced the hiring of Peake as Senior Vice-President for the Health Industry.[9]

Secretary of Veterans Affairs[edit]

Peake's selection as VA secretary was announced on October 30, 2007. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 14, 2007[10] and sworn in at VA headquarters by Vice President Dick Cheney on December 20.[11]

Peake was inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2009.[12]

See also[edit]

Biography- George W. Bush White House Archives[13]


  1. ^ "Lieutenant General James B. Peake". Office of Medical History. U.S. Army. January 3, 2008. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  2. ^ Bush Nominates New Veterans Secretary, Associated Press, October 30, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Promotions Dates of Appointment".
  4. ^ "James B. Peake". White House. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  5. ^ "Speakers". Global Cybersecurity Policy Conference. Stevens Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  6. ^ Peake, James B. (2006). "Project HOPE and USNS Mercy Tsunami "Experiment", The". Military Medicine. Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. 171 (10 Suppl 1): 27–29. doi:10.7205/MILMED.171.1S.27. PMID 17447618.
  7. ^ "Peake Nominated to Head Veterans Affairs". National Public Radio. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  8. ^ Rick Maze (13 December 2007). "Senate committee approves Peake to lead VA". Army Times. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  9. ^ "CGI Federal hires Dr. James Peake". www.cgi.com. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  10. ^ "Burr Praises Senate Confirmation of Dr. James Peake". Richard Burr. United States Senate. 14 December 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  11. ^ UPI. Peake sworn in as VA secretary Archived 2008-02-04 at the Wayback Machine, Dec 20, 2007. Accessed 21 Dec 2007.
  12. ^ "U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame" (PDF). Worldwide Army Rangers, Inc. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
  13. ^ "James B. Peake - Secretary of Veterans Affairs". georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov. Retrieved 2018-05-15.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by Surgeon General of the United States Army
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Cabinet Member Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Cabinet Member
Succeeded byas Former US Cabinet Member