VA Claims: Disabled Veterans Community| 23 Years and 10 VA Secretaries Later

Tbird's Thoughts

I founded 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 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 is still here – we’ve seen our share of VA Secretaries and basically they all same about 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.
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.NameTerm of OfficesPresident(s) served under
1Frank T. Hines1930–1945Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman
2Omar Bradley1945–1948Harry S. Truman
3Carl R. Gray Jr.1948–1953Harry S. Truman
4Harvey V. Higley1953–1957Dwight D. Eisenhower
5Sumner G. Whittier1957–1961Dwight D. Eisenhower
6John S. Gleason1961–1965John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson
7William J. Driver1965–1969Lyndon B. Johnson
8Donald E. Johnson1969–1974Richard Nixon
9Richard L. Roudebush1974–1977Gerald Ford
10Max Cleland1977–1981Jimmy Carter
11Bob Nimmo1981–1983Ronald Reagan
12Harry N. Walters1983–1986Ronald Reagan
13Thomas K. Turnage1986–1989Ronald Reagan
14Ed Derwinski1989George H. W. Bush

Veterans Affairs Secretaries

No.PortraitNameState of residenceTook officeLeft officePresident(s)
1Ed derwinski.jpgEd DerwinskiIllinoisMarch 15, 1989September 26, 1992George H. W. Bush
Anthony Principi.jpgAnthony Principi[1]
CaliforniaSeptember 26, 1992January 20, 1993
2Jesse brown va.jpgJesse BrownIllinoisJanuary 22, 1993July 1, 1997Bill Clinton
Gober sm.jpgHershel W. Gober[2]
ArkansasJuly 1, 1997January 2, 1998
3TogoDWest.jpgTogo D. West Jr.District of ColumbiaJanuary 2, 1998[3]May 5, 1998
May 5, 1998July 25, 2000
Gober sm.jpgHershel W. Gober[2]
ArkansasJuly 25, 2000January 20, 2001
4Anthony Principi.jpgAnthony PrincipiCaliforniaJanuary 23, 2001January 26, 2005George W. Bush
5JimNicholson.jpgJim NicholsonColoradoJanuary 26, 2005October 1, 2007
Gordon H. Mansfield.jpgGordon H. Mansfield[4]
FloridaOctober 1, 2007December 20, 2007
6PeakeJames.jpgJames PeakeDistrict of ColumbiaDecember 20, 2007January 20, 2009
7Eric Shinseki official Veterans Affairs portrait.jpgEric ShinsekiHawaiiJanuary 20, 2009May 30, 2014Barack Obama
Sloan Gibson.jpgSloan D. Gibson
AlabamaMay 30, 2014July 30, 2014
8Robert A. McDonald Official Portrait.jpgBob McDonaldOhioJuly 30, 2014January 20, 2017
Robert Snyder.jpgRobert Snyder
West VirginiaJanuary 20, 2017February 14, 2017Donald Trump
9David Shulkin official photo (cropped).jpgDavid ShulkinPennsylvaniaFebruary 14, 2017March 28, 2018
Robert L. Wilkie acting SECVA official photo (cropped).jpgRobert Wilkie
North CarolinaMarch 28, 2018May 29, 2018
Peter O'Rourke official photo (cropped).jpgPeter O’Rourke
VirginiaMay 29, 2018July 30, 2018
10Robert Wilkie official portrait (cropped).jpgRobert WilkieNorth CarolinaJuly 30, 2018Incumbent


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