Eric Shinseki

Last updated

Eric Shinseki
Eric Shinseki official Veterans Affairs portrait.jpg
7th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
In office
January 21, 2009 May 30, 2014
President Barack Obama
Deputy W. Scott Gould
Sloan D. Gibson
Preceded by James Peake
Succeeded by Bob McDonald
34th Chief of Staff of the United States Army
In office
June 21, 1999 June 11, 2003
President Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded by Dennis Reimer
Succeeded by Peter Schoomaker
28th Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
In office
November 24, 1998 June 21, 1999
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by William W. Crouch
Succeeded by Jack Keane
Personal details
Born (1942-11-28) November 28, 1942 (age 78)
Lihue, Hawaii, U.S.
Spouse(s)Patricia Shinseki
Children2
Education United States Military Academy (BS)
Duke University (MA)
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Years of service1965–2003
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Seventh United States Army
Allied Land Forces Central Europe
NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina
1st Cavalry Division
2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division
3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Bosnian War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (3)
Purple Heart (2) [1] [2]

Eric Ken Shinseki ( /ʃɪnˈsɛki/ ; born November 28, 1942) is a retired United States Army general who served as the seventh United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs (2009–2014). [3] His final United States Army post was as the 34th Chief of Staff of the Army (1999–2003). Shinseki is a veteran of two tours of combat in the Vietnam War, in which he was awarded three Bronze Star Medals for valor and two Purple Hearts. [4] He was the first Asian-American four-star general, and the first Asian-American Secretary of Veterans Affairs. [5]

Contents

Early life and education

Shinseki at West Point in 1965 Shinseki 1965.jpg
Shinseki at West Point in 1965

Shinseki was born in Lihue, Kauaʻi, in the then Territory of Hawaii, to an American family of Japanese ancestry. His grandparents emigrated from Hiroshima to Hawaii in 1901. [6] He grew up in a sugarcane plantation community on Kaua'i and graduated from Kaua'i High and Intermediate School in 1960. [7] While attending Kaua'i he was active in the Boy Scouts and served as class president. [7] As a boy, Shinseki learned that three of his uncles had served in the 442nd Infantry Regiment, a unit of Japanese Americans that became one of the most decorated fighting units in United States history. [8] Motivated by his uncles' example, he attended the United States Military Academy and graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant. He earned a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from Duke University in 1974. He was also educated at the Armor Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College of National Defense University.

Military service

Shinseki is pinned with the rank of general by Army chief of staff Dennis Reimer and his wife Patty in July 1997. Gen. Eric Shinseki promotion.jpg
Shinseki is pinned with the rank of general by Army chief of staff Dennis Reimer and his wife Patty in July 1997.
A 2003 portrait of Shinseki Gen Eric Shinseki official portrait.jpg
A 2003 portrait of Shinseki

Shinseki served in a variety of command and staff assignments in the Continental United States and overseas, including two combat tours with the 9th and 25th Infantry Divisions in the Republic of Vietnam as an artillery forward observer and as commander of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment during the Vietnam War. During one of those tours while serving as a forward artillery observer, he stepped on a land mine, which blew the front off one of his feet; after spending almost a year recovering from his injuries, he returned to active duty in 1971. [4]

Shinseki has served at Schofield Barracks, Hawai'i, with Headquarters, United States Army Hawaii, and Fort Shafter with Headquarters, United States Army Pacific. He has taught at the U.S. Military Academy's Department of English. During duty with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, he served as the regimental adjutant and as the executive officer of its 1st Squadron.

Shinseki's ten-plus years of service in Europe included assignments as Commander, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 3rd Infantry Division (Schweinfurt); Commander, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Kitzingen); Assistant Chief of Staff, G3, 3rd Infantry Division (Operations, Plans and Training) (Würzburg); and Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver, 3rd Infantry Division (Schweinfurt). The 3rd Division was organized at that time as a heavy mechanized division. He also served as Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations, Plans, and Training), VII Corps (Stuttgart). Shinseki served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Support, Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (Verona), an element of the Allied Forces Southern Europe.

From March 1994 to July 1995, Shinseki commanded the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. In July 1996, he was promoted to lieutenant general and became Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, United States Army. In June 1997, Shinseki was appointed to the rank of general before assuming duties as Commanding General, Seventh United States Army; Commander, Allied Land Forces Central Europe; and Commander, NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Shinseki became the Army's 28th Vice Chief of Staff on November 24, 1998, then became its 34th Chief of Staff on June 22, 1999. [9] Shinseki retired on June 11, 2003 at the end of his four-year term. His Farewell Memo contained some of his ideas regarding the future of the military. [10] At that time, General Shinseki retired from the Army after 38 years of military service.

As of 2009, Shinseki was the highest-ranked Asian American in the history of the United States. [11] Additionally, as of 2004, he is the highest-ranked Japanese American to have served in the United States Armed Forces. [12]

After receiving the Medal of Honor, Ed Freeman was inducted into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes on July 17, 2001 by Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki and Sergeant Major of the Army Jack L. Tilley. EdFreemanMoH.jpg
After receiving the Medal of Honor, Ed Freeman was inducted into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes on July 17, 2001 by Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki and Sergeant Major of the Army Jack L. Tilley.

Army Chief of Staff

Shinseki as Army Chief of Staff thanks Senator Strom Thurmond for his service to the country during his 100th birthday celebration. Shinseki joined Thomas White in naming the centerpiece of the National Museum of the Army in Thurmond's honor in a ceremony at his office on Capitol Hill December 4, 2002. Senator Thurmond 100th Birthday.jpg
Shinseki as Army Chief of Staff thanks Senator Strom Thurmond for his service to the country during his 100th birthday celebration. Shinseki joined Thomas White in naming the centerpiece of the National Museum of the Army in Thurmond's honor in a ceremony at his office on Capitol Hill December 4, 2002.

During his tenure as Army Chief of Staff, Shinseki initiated an innovative but controversial plan to make the army more strategically deployable and mobile in urban terrain by creating Stryker Interim-Force Brigade Combat Teams. [13] He conceived a long term strategic plan for the army dubbed "Objective Force", which included a program he designed, Future Combat Systems. [14] One other controversial plan that Shinseki implemented was the wearing of the black beret for all army personnel. [15] Prior to Shinseki implementing this policy, only the United States Army Rangers could wear the black beret. When the black beret was given to all soldiers and officers, the Rangers moved to the tan beret.

Shinseki publicly clashed with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during the planning of the war in Iraq over how many troops the United States would need to keep in Iraq for the postwar occupation of that country. As Army Chief of Staff, Shinseki testified to the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services on February 25, 2003, that "something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would probably be required for postwar Iraq. This was an estimate far higher than the figure being proposed by Secretary Rumsfeld in his invasion plan, and it was rejected in strong language by both Rumsfeld and his Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who was another chief planner of the invasion and occupation. [16] From then on, Shinseki's influence on the Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly waned. [17] Critics of the Bush Administration alleged that Shinseki was forced into early retirement as Army Chief of Staff because of his comments on troop levels; however, his retirement was announced nearly a year before those comments. [18] According to a 2003 book "State of Denial," Shinseki was actually tapped by Al-Gore to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if Al-Gore win the 2000 Presidential election. However Al-Gore lost the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush and instead of Shinseki, Bush chosen Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myers as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Many believed that this was the primary reason why Shinseki always on the opposite site with Bush administrations military policy and constantly criticizing the administration. [19] [20]

When the insurgency took hold in postwar Iraq, Shinseki's comments and their public rejection by the civilian leadership were often cited by those who felt the Bush administration deployed too few troops to Iraq. [21] On November 15, 2006, in testimony before Congress, CENTCOM Commander General John Abizaid said that Shinseki had been correct that more troops were needed. [21]

Post-military career

President Barack Obama and guests at signing of bill to grant Congressional Gold Medal to 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team in recognition of their World War II service. Shinseki is at the far right. Barack Obama signs S.1055 2010-10-05 1.jpg
President Barack Obama and guests at signing of bill to grant Congressional Gold Medal to 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team in recognition of their World War II service. Shinseki is at the far right.

Shinseki has served as a director for several corporations: Honeywell International and Ducommun, military contractors; Grove Farm Corporation; First Hawaiian Bank; [22] and Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. [23] He is a member of the Advisory Boards at the Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and to the U.S. Comptroller General. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Atlantic Council of the United States, and the Association of the United States Army. [24]

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs (2009–2014)

On December 7, 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama announced at a press conference in Chicago that he would nominate Shinseki to become the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. [25] Shinseki was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on January 20, 2009, and sworn in the next day. [26]

Veterans Health Administration scandal

In May 2014, Shinseki was embroiled in a scandal involving the Veterans Health Administration, which is a component of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Questions involving substandard timely care and false records covering up related timelines had come to light, involving treatment of veterans in a number of veterans hospitals. [27] [28] On May 30, 2014, President Obama announced that he had accepted Shinseki's resignation as Secretary. [29] [30] Shinseki said he could not explain the lack of integrity among some leaders in veterans healthcare facilities: "That breach of integrity is irresponsible, it is indefensible, and unacceptable to me." He said he could not defend what happened because it was indefensible, but he could take responsibility for it and he would. [31] Shinseki's resignation meant that 2014 was the first time since 2000 that there had not been an Asian American in the Cabinet of the United States. [32]

In an interview with retired General Peter W. Chiarelli, journalist Robert Siegel described the situation as "a case of a very, very good man who's run up against some pretty terrible problems in his job," to which Chiarelli responded, "I don't look up to any man more than I look up to Eric Shinseki." [33]

Family

Shinseki is married to his high school sweetheart, Patricia; they are the parents of two children, Lori and Ken. [7] He also has seven grandchildren. [34]

Awards, decorations, and badges

Shinseki was awarded the following medals, ribbons, badges, and tabs: [35] [36]

Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Defense Distinguished Service ribbon.svg
Defense Distinguished Service Medal [37] (with one oak leaf cluster) [38]
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Army Distinguished Service Medal [37] (with one oak leaf cluster) [38]
Navy Distinguished Service ribbon.svg Navy Distinguished Service Medal [39]
Air Force Distinguished Service ribbon.svg Air Force Distinguished Service Medal [39]
Coast Guard Distinguished Service ribbon.svg Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal [39]
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster) [37]
Valor device.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze Star ribbon.svg
Bronze Star (with "V" Device and two Oak Leaf Clusters) [37]
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Purple Heart BAR.svg
Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster) [37]
Defense Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Defense Meritorious Service Medal [37]
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg
Meritorious Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters) [37]
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal [37]
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg
Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster) [40]
Army Achievement Medal ribbon.svg Army Achievement Medal [40]
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with Service star
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg
Vietnam Service Medal with four Service stars
Armed Forces Service Medal ribbon.svg Armed Forces Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon.svg Army Overseas Service Ribbon
NATO Medal Yugoslavia ribbon bar.svg NATO Medal for Former Yugoslavia
Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon with 60- clasp.svg Vietnam Campaign Medal
US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge.gif Parachutist Badge
Ranger Tab.svg Ranger Tab
Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge.png Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png Army Staff Identification Badge
ArmyOSB.jpg Four Overseas Service Bars

Notes

  1. "Award citations, Eric Ken Shinseki". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  2. "Biography, General Eric K. Shinseki". Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. Army Historical Foundation. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  3. Jaffe, Greg; O'Keefe, Ed (May 30, 2014). "Obama accepts resignation of VA Secretary Shinseki". Washington Post. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Eric Shinseki (May 12, 2009). "Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, 2009 Secretary's Awards for Excellence in Nursing". U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
  5. "Overseas Contigency Operations Profiles". Asia Pacific Americans in the United States Army. United States Army. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  6. Obata, Hiroshi. 両祖父母は広島出身 ("Shinseki: both grandparents are from Hiroshima"). Hiroshima Peace Media (Japan). January 30, 2009
  7. 1 2 3 Sauer, Bobbie Kyle (December 18, 2008). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Gen. Eric Shinseki". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  8. "Eric K. Shinseki". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  9. Fahrig, Jody T. (June 23, 1999). "Army welcomes Shinseki as new chief". Army News Service. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved May 27, 2006.
  10. Shinseki, Eric K (June 10, 2003). "End of Tour Memorandum" (PDF). The Washington Post Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 7, 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2008.
  11. Thom Shanker (January 14, 2009). "A Second Act for General Shinseki". The New York Times . Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  12. Gregg K. Kakesako (March 31, 2004). "An Inspiration for a Generation". Honolulu Star Bulletin . Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  13. Thom Shanker (October 29, 2002). "Army Takes on Critics of an Armored Vehicle". The New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  14. "Objective Force is Needed for Relevancy". AUSA News. Association of the United States Army. April 1, 2001. Archived from the original on May 9, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  15. "Beret battle: Army approves color change". Amarillo Globe=News. March 16, 2001. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  16. Schmitt, Eric (February 28, 2003). "Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force's Size". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  17. Shanker, Thom "New Strategy Vindicates Ex-Army Chief Shinseki", New York Times, January 12, 2007.
  18. CNN Political Unit. CNN Political Unit debate fact check. CNN.com. October 9, 2004.
  19. Woodward, Bob (2006). State of denial. New York. ISBN   0-7432-7223-4. OCLC   71791999.
  20. Perry, Mark (2017). The Pentagon's wars : the military's undeclared war against America's presidents (First ed.). New York, NY. ISBN   978-0-465-07971-1. OCLC   972386823.
  21. 1 2 Ricks, Thomas E.; Ann Scott Tyson (November 16, 2006). "Abizaid Says Withdrawal Would Mean More Unrest". The Washington Post . p. A22. Retrieved December 13, 2006. General [Eric] Shinseki was right that a greater international force contribution, U.S. force contribution and Iraqi force contribution should have been available immediately after major combat operations.
  22. Rucker, Philip; Thomas E. Ricks (December 6, 2008). "Shinseki Slated to Head VA, Obama Confirms". Washington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2008.
  23. "Shinseki biography". Forbes. Retrieved December 7, 2008.
  24. "The Purpose Prize: Shinseki" . Retrieved December 7, 2008.
  25. "Obama: No one 'more qualified' than Shinseki to head VA". CNN. December 7, 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2008.
  26. Abrams, Jim (January 20, 2009). "Senate confirms 6 cabinet secretaries". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  27. Shinseki 'mad as hell' about VA allegations, but won't resign
  28. "VA's top health official resigns amid scandal over delays in vets' care | Military Times". militarytimes.com. May 15, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  29. "Embattled VA chief Shinseki resigns". USA Today. May 30, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  30. "Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki resigns". CNN. May 30, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  31. "US president accepts with 'regret' Veterans Affairs chief's resignation". Chicago Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 31, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  32. Mak, Tim (June 1, 2014). "There Are No Asian-Americans In The Cabinet For The First Time Since 2000". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  33. Siegel, Robert (May 30, 2014). "Retired Army Gen. On Shinseki: 'I Don't Look Up To Any Man More'". NPR. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  34. Shane III, Leo (June 19, 2013). "Shinseki's style: Determined, quiet". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  35. "Eric K. Shinseki". Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on September 15, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  36. "Overseas Contingency Operations". Asian Pacific Americans in the United States Army. United States Army. Archived from the original on January 26, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
    "Chief of Staff of the Army Official Portrait". Army Leadership. United States ARmy. June 24, 2001. Archived from the original on April 29, 2003. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
    "S.RES.190 – Commending General Eric Shinseki of the United States Army for his outstanding service and commitment to excellence. (Agreed to Senate – ATS)". www.congress.gov. Library of Congress. Whereas General Shinseki has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with oak leaf clusters), Bronze Star Medal with 'V' Device (with 2 oak leaf clusters), Purple Heart (with oak leaf cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 oak leaf clusters), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge;
  37. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Eric K. Shinseki: Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs Biography, About.com, U.S. Government, by Robert Longley, last accessed July 13, 2013
  38. 1 2 "Eric Ken Shinseki". Hall of Valor. Gannett. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
    Tran, Can (December 7, 2008). "Obama Picks Army Gen. Shinseki To Head VA". Digital Journal. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  39. 1 2 3 "President-Elect Barack Obama Announces General Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs". The American Presidency Project. UCSB. December 7, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  40. 1 2 General Eric K. Shinseki, Retired Chief of Staff, United States Army, Asian American Network, last accessed July 13, 2014

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The Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014 is a bill that would allow United States veterans to receive their healthcare from non-VA facilities under certain conditions. The bill is a response to the Veterans Health Administration scandal of 2014, in which it was discovered that there was systematic lying about the wait times veterans experienced waiting to be seen by doctors. By June 5, 2014, Veterans Affairs internal investigations had identified a total of 35 veterans who had died while waiting for care in the Phoenix VHA system. Another audit determined that "more than 57,000 veterans waited at least 90 days to see a doctor, while another 63,000 over the last decade never received an initial appointment."

Veterans Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 United States military Veterans Choice Act

The Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, also known as the Veterans Choice Act, is a United States public law that is intended to address the ongoing Veterans Health Administration scandal of 2014. The law expanded the number of options veterans have for receiving care and granted the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs more power to fire senior executives. The Veterans Health Administration scandal of 2014 began with the discovery that there was on-going systematic lying by the Veterans Health Administration about the wait times veterans experienced waiting to be seen by doctors. By June 5, 2014, Veterans Affairs internal investigations had identified a total of 35 veterans who had died while waiting for care in the Phoenix VHA system. Another audit determined that "more than 57,000 veterans waited at least 90 days to see a doctor, while another 63,000 over the last decade never received an initial appointment."

Michael Linnington CEO of Wounded Warrior Project, US Army Lieutenant General

Michael Linnington is the CEO of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and a retired United States Army Lieutenant General. He has more than 35 years of military experience and was the first permanent Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), served as a Military Deputy under the Secretary of Defense, was the Commanding General of the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region, the Deputy Commanding General at Fort Benning, GA, Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy for the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Military offices
Preceded by
William Crouch
Commanding General of the United States Army Europe
1997–1998
Succeeded by
Montgomery Meigs
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1998–1999
Succeeded by
Jack Keane
Preceded by
Dennis Reimer
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1999–2003
Succeeded by
Peter Schoomaker
Political offices
Preceded by
James Peake
United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
2009–2014
Succeeded by
Robert A. McDonald