HadIt.com 10 VA Secretaries Later

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Home Tbird's Thoughts HadIt.com 10 VA Secretaries Later

I founded HadIt.com on Jan 20, 1997. I entered the VA system early in 1991 after separating from the Navy in Dec 1990. I actually had the idea to create something before I discovered the internet in 1994/1995. With the internet, I realized I can do so much more than any little analog thing I could put together. I thought I could reach a few veterans who could reach a few others and in this way, many more could be helped. I would follow the teach a man to fish principle and provide information, references, and knowledge that could be freely shared with others. I started learning how to create websites and everything I could about the internet. I had a website that I practiced on and was getting visitors and learning more and finally grew to the point I created HadIt.com Veteran to Veteran.

The early years in the VA system were definitely different for me. My first memory of going to the VA hospital is an overcrowded waiting room, veterans standing in confusing lines frankly it was so crowded it didn’t look like lines, just clumps of pissed off veterans. Phones were ringing it was loud and crowded and no order that I could see, for me it seemed unsafe, it stressed me, my anxiety hit the roof. If I hadn’t been in pain I probably would have left. When they finally called me into the exam room, a nurse came in and told me I would have to wait outside for my husband. “I’m the veteran,” I said, a phrase that I would have to say repeatedly.  It was 1991 and I get it, the system was still dominantly male. By the time the doc got to me, he decided I needed a pelvic exam, a 45-minute search for a speculum ensued. I took one look at this metal huge thing that looked like it had been in a drawer for quite some time and I pulled up my pants up and got the hell out of there. I had a recent hysterectomy and adhesions, I later found out were causing some pain. But that was then and this is now. Today I go to a Women’s clinic at the VA and I am very hopeful that VA will continue to improve, staff, and expand the Women’s clinics. For the most part in 2020 going to the VA for me is more like going to the doctor than it was in 1991. There were times in 1991 that had a very “cattle callesque” feel to it.

So after 23 years I’m happy to report HadIt.com is still here – we’ve seen our share of VA Secretaries and basically, they all say the same thing and they all sound committed to veterans. With each one, we have learned to wait and see. As of May 2018, we have no Veterans Affairs Secretary, though Robert Wilkie has been nominated. In July of 2018, he took office officially.

The good news/bad news depending on where you stand is the CHOICE program, most of the veterans I talk to like it, some others worry it will lead to privatization. I’ve used it and worked pretty smoothly once I got the referral.

In 2020 HadIt.com is still helping veteran help each other through the veterans disability compensation process.

In 1989, the Veterans Administration was replaced by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (a member of the cabinet) as its head.

Veterans Administration Administrators

No. Name Term of Offices President(s) served under
1 Frank T. Hines 1930–1945 Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman
2 Omar Bradley 1945–1948 Harry S. Truman
3 Carl R. Gray Jr. 1948–1953 Harry S. Truman
4 Harvey V. Higley 1953–1957 Dwight D. Eisenhower
5 Sumner G. Whittier 1957–1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
6 John S. Gleason 1961–1965 John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
7 William J. Driver 1965–1969 Lyndon B. Johnson
8 Donald E. Johnson 1969–1974 Richard Nixon
9 Richard L. Roudebush 1974–1977 Gerald Ford
10 Max Cleland 1977–1981 Jimmy Carter
11 Bob Nimmo 1981–1983 Ronald Reagan
12 Harry N. Walters 1983–1986 Ronald Reagan
13 Thomas K. Turnage 1986–1989 Ronald Reagan
14 Ed Derwinski 1989 George H. W. Bush

Veterans Affairs Secretaries

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President(s)
1   Ed Derwinski Illinois March 15, 1989 September 26, 1992   George H. W. Bush
  Anthony Principi[1]
California September 26, 1992 January 20, 1993
2   Jesse Brown Illinois January 22, 1993 July 1, 1997   Bill Clinton
  Hershel W. Gober[2]
Arkansas July 1, 1997 January 2, 1998
3   Togo D. West Jr. District of Columbia January 2, 1998[3] May 5, 1998
May 5, 1998 July 25, 2000
  Hershel W. Gober[2]
Arkansas July 25, 2000 January 20, 2001
4   Anthony Principi California January 23, 2001 January 26, 2005   George W. Bush
5   Jim Nicholson Colorado January 26, 2005 October 1, 2007
  Gordon H. Mansfield[4]
Florida October 1, 2007 December 20, 2007
6   James Peake District of Columbia December 20, 2007 January 20, 2009
7   Eric Shinseki Hawaii January 20, 2009 May 30, 2014   Barack Obama
  Sloan D. Gibson
Alabama May 30, 2014 July 30, 2014
8   Bob McDonald Ohio July 30, 2014 January 20, 2017
  Robert Snyder
West Virginia January 20, 2017 February 14, 2017   Donald Trump
9   David Shulkin Pennsylvania February 14, 2017 March 28, 2018
  Robert Wilkie
North Carolina March 28, 2018 May 29, 2018
  Peter O’Rourke
Virginia May 29, 2018 July 30, 2018
10   Robert Wilkie North Carolina July 30, 2018 Incumbent

Author: Tbird


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