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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 3, 1997

President Clinton today announced his intent to nominate Hershel Gober to be Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Hershel Gober, a native of Arkansas, currently serves as Acting Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, a post he assumed upon the July 1 resignation of Jesse Brown. For four and a half years he has served as Deputy Secretary. Mr. Gober has actively pressed for the expansion of benefits for veterans who were prisoners of war, for those who were exposed to Agent Orange, radiation or mustard gas, and for Persian Gulf war veterans suffering from unexplained illnesses. Mr. Gober is a member of the President's Management Council and led Presidential missions to Vietnam, seeking resolution to POW and MIA issues. Mr. Gober's 20-year military career includes service in both the Marine Corps and the Army. Mr. Gober served two tours of duty in Vietnam and received numerous decorations including the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Soldier's Medal. In 1993, Mr. Gober was honored by the Infantry Officer's Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia, with an induction into the OCS Hall of Fame. Mr. Gober graduated from Alaska Pacific University, cum laude, with a bachelor's degree in history. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Secretary, he served as State Director of Veterans' Affairs in Arkansas under then-Governor Clinton.

The Department of Veterans' Affairs, formerly the Veterans' Administration, was established as an executive department in 1989. The Department is comprised of three organizations that administer programs to benefit veterans and their families: the Veterans Health Administration, the Veteran Benefits Administration, and the National Cemetery System. The Department employs some 235,000 people at numerous VA medical centers, clinics, benefits offices, and national cemeteries throughout the country. The Secretary of Veterans' Affairs is responsible for maintaining this nationwide network of resources and services for America's 26 million veterans.