Hagel Nomination Praised by IAVA
Posted by Zack Baddorf on January 7
IAVA released a statement today praising the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.
"IAVA applauds the President's nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense," IAVA founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff said. "Senator Hagel is a welcomed choice and this is a historic day for veterans of all generations. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans know Senator Hagel as a trusted friend, advocate and role model. He is a man of tremendous character who we can always count on to put our country ahead of politics. As a decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, Senator Hagel uniquely understands the challenges America’s armed forces are facing worldwide. He also understands the challenges they face when they transition home, which will be essential in the years ahead. As we confront an alarming suicide rate, a shrinking military and high unemployment for veterans, we need a Secretary of Defense who knows where we're coming from. After over ten long years of war, now is the time for a combat veteran like Senator Hagel to lead the Pentagon.
"As a former enlisted soldier, Senator Hagel understands the challenges our troops and veterans face on a deeply personal level. He's a man of great integrity who knows what it's like to put his life on the line for his country. He has walked in our boots, and we know we can trust him to always have our back."
Senator Hagel served as an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army infantry from 1967 to 1968, when he was a squad leader in the 9th Infantry Division. He earned two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam. After returning home from Southeast Asia, Senator Hagel used the Montgomery G.I. Bill to attend college. Later, as a U.S. Senator, Hagel was an initial sponsor of the Post-9/11 Bill, which expanded G.I. Bill benefits for a new generation of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. IAVA was instrumental in the passage of the New G.I. Bill and worked closely with Senator Hagel on this historic piece of legislation.
"Without Senator Hagel’s leadership in Washington, there would not be a Post-9/11 G.I. Bill,” Rieckhoff added. "Senator Hagel has always been a strong advocate for veterans; at the Department of Defense, there is no doubt he will continue that legacy. Time and time again, from Vietnam to the VA to the USO, Senator Hagel has answered his country's call to serve, demonstrating courage, character and resolve at every turn. We encourage the Senate to approve his nomination swiftly."
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