(Washington, D.C.) –Dr. James Peake, who was sworn in as Secretary of Veterans Affairs last December, will deliver remarks on Friday, July 18, at a luncheon in his honor during VVA's biennial National Leadership Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. The event, at the Hyatt Regency Greenville, will begin at 12:15 P.M.
Dr. Peake graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1966 and was commissioned a second lieutenant. Following service with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam where he was wounded, he entered medical school at Cornell University and received his medical doctorate in 1972. He retired from the Army in 2004, having served as a cardiac surgeon and commander in several medical posts. He served as Surgeon General of the Army from 2000-04.
“It’s an honor to have Secretary Peake at our Leadership Conference,” said VVA President John Rowan. “I know the conference attendees will be listening closely to what he has to say about veterans’ benefits and about the VA health-care system.”
Chris Noel, who hosted a popular radio show in Vietnam on the Armed Forces Network, and Bobbie Keith, who as “Bobbie the Weather Girl” gave light-hearted weather forecasts on Armed Forces TV in Vietnam, will receive the President=s Awards for Excellence in the Arts at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night. Poet and Vietnam veteran Bill Ehrhart also will receive the VVA Excellence in the Arts Award. J. Craig Venter, the visionary biologist and intellectual entrepreneur who pioneered the work that decoded the human genome and who served as a Navy corpsman in the Vietnam War, will receive the VVA Excellence in the Sciences Award.
The Leadership Conference brings together some 400 Vietnam veterans from across the nation who will take part in four days of seminars, meetings, and related activities. Opening ceremonies will be held on Wednesday, July 16. VVA's supporting organization, the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, will hold its biennial convention, and the Veterans of Modern Warfare (VMW) will have its founding National Convention concurrently with the conference.