WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James Peake was sworn in Thursday as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
"The secretary of Veterans Affairs has one of the most important jobs in our government," U.S. President George Bush said during the ceremony at the department offices near the White House. "The secretary is charged with a solemn responsibility: to ensure our nation's veterans receive the care and the benefits they deserve."
Peake succeeds Jim Nicholson, who resigned Oct. 1 as controversy swirled around the department. Peake is the first physician and first general to serve as secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department.