Togo West Jr., 75, Dies; Military Secretary in Time of Transition

Togo West Jr., 75, Dies; Military Secretary in Time of Transition

He instructed the CBS Information program “Face the Nation,” “I say to the dad and mom of America, you may belief your little kids to us.”

Later, as head of the Division of Veterans Affairs, he fought the White Home behind the scenes, with solely modest success, to broaden spending on medical care and different advantages for former members of the navy.

After two years, he left the company, whose inspector common described a few of its divisions as mired in “whole chaos.”

Mr. West earlier served as an affiliate deputy legal professional common beneath President Gerald R. Ford; as common counsel of the Navy beneath President Jimmy Carter; and, beneath President Ronald Reagan, on a panel that discovered complicity by the Salvadoran authorities in protecting up the homicide of 4 Roman Catholic churchwomen from the US.

President George W. Bush appointed Mr. West to 2 assessment panels. One criticized the care at Walter Reed Military Medical Heart, and the opposite urged the Military to enhance its capability to determine and deal with high-risk troopers after the deadly shootings of 13 folks by a navy psychiatrist at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009.

“His complete life was a mannequin of citizen service,” Invoice and Hillary Clinton mentioned in an announcement on Sunday.


Mr. West with President Invoice Clinton in Washington in July 2000 after the White Home introduced that he would step down as secretary of Veterans Affairs. His successor, Hershel W. Gober, is at left.

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Ron Edmonds/Related Press

Togo Dennis West Jr. was born on June 21, 1942, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Like his father, a public faculty principal, he was named for Adm. Togo Heihachiro, who emerged as a hero of the Russo-Japanese Warfare across the time Togo Sr. was born. (“I’m firmly satisfied,” the admiral wrote in English in his diary, “that I’m the reincarnation of Horatio Nelson.”)

Mr. West’s mom, the previous Evelyn Carter, was a trainer.

He earned a bachelor of science diploma in engineering from Howard College in Washington, the place he additionally acquired a regulation diploma and met Gail Berry, whom he married in 1966 and who survives him. She was later named deputy assistant secretary of the Air Pressure.

Along with his spouse and his daughter Hilary, Mr. West is survived by one other daughter, Tiffany West Smink, and two grandchildren.

After clerking for Federal District Choose Harold R. Tyler Jr. in New York, Mr. West was commissioned a second lieutenant within the Military Subject Artillery Corps and attained the rank of captain within the Choose Advocate Basic’s Corps, the place he served till 1973.

After working within the Carter administration, he grew to become managing companion on the New York regulation agency of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and a senior vice chairman of the Northrop Company (now Northrop Grumman), a significant protection contractor, earlier than becoming a member of the Clinton administration.

Mr. West was named Military secretary in 1993. (The primary black to carry the publish was Clifford L. Alexander, appointed by President Carter.) Mr. West succeeded John W. Shannon, the appearing secretary, who was charged with shoplifting a shirt and skirt value $30 from the publish alternate at Fort Myer in Virginia. (The fees had been dismissed.)

As secretary within the years after the Gulf Warfare, Mr. West managed base closings and troop reductions that constituted the most important navy demobilization since World Warfare II. He additionally administered the Clinton administration’s “don’t ask, don’t inform” coverage, meant to accommodate homosexual troopers.

Mr. West clashed with Military brass who objected to his plan to broaden the position of ladies in fight. He ultimately compromised on a plan that allowed them to be assigned to about two in three Military jobs however barred them from others, together with operation of a complicated air protection discipline artillery weapons, helicopters that fly cowl for tanks and particular operations forces.

He served till 1998, when he was appointed to the cabinet-level Veterans Affairs publish, succeeding the primary black to carry that publish, Jesse Brown, and serving till July 2000.

From 2004 to 2006 Mr. West was president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington assume tank that focuses on problems with specific concern to black folks.

Vernon Jordan, a former adviser to President Clinton, recommended in a phone interview that Mr. West — maybe starting with the classical schooling imparted by his dad and mom — appeared destined to hitch the one in 10 black males whom W. E. B. Du Bois predicted on the daybreak of the 20th century would turn out to be African-American leaders.

“He went to high school and to regulation faculty impressed to serve the most effective pursuits of the group as a result of he was one who understood Du Bois’s mandate to the ‘Proficient Tenth,’ ” Mr. Jordan mentioned. “Du Bois can be happy along with his legacy.”

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