Press Release

August 16, 2002

No. 02-14

(301) 585-4000
Mokie Porter


VIetnam Veterans of America Expresses Sorrow
on the Passing of Jesse Brown

(Tucson, Arizona) – “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our good friend Jesse L. Brown, former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said VVA National President Thomas H. Corey. “Jesse was a Life Member of VVA and a dynamic advocate for all veterans. He will be deeply missed, and his dedication to veterans will forever serve as an inspiration to others.”  

President Bill Clinton appointed Brown, a decorated Vietnam veteran, as Secretary of Veterans Affairs (DVA) in 1993. The department, formerly the Veterans Administration, is the largest healthcare service provider in the United States.  

Jesse Brown created the patient safety register and instituted measures to ensure the quality of veteran’s health care. He also reorganized and improved the system of fairly adjudicating veterans claims for service-connected disabled veterans.  

Under Brown’s leadership, the new department convened the first national summit meeting on homeless veterans, began awarding grants to groups who provide aid to the homeless, and added homeless programs to VA Medical Centers.

Most importantly, Jesse Brown instituted the “Putting Veterans First” policy, and began the process of changing the basic culture of the VA. He reached out to America’s veterans, tirelessly traveling the country to meet and listen to the concerns of countless veterans. He was proud to say, “I am Jesse Brown, the Secretary of the U.S. Department for Veterans Affairs.”  

Brown expanded services to women veterans, including counseling for sexual trauma suffered while in the military, and ordered sensitivity training for all VA employees as an element of his “Putting Veterans First” policy.  

Brown enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1963 and was wounded in combat in 1965 while on a patrol near Danang. Prior to his selection as Secretary he was Executive Director of the Disabled Veterans of America. 

“Jesse was a remarkable leader,” Corey said. “He was a brother, working closely with VVA in our battle to improve conditions for all veterans of all generations.


Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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