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“Secretary Gordon H. Mansfield dedicated his life to advocating on behalf of veterans. He leaves behind a towering legacy of service to veterans, VA, and the nation.

“Combat commander, recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, and role model to disabled veterans young and old, especially those who served in the Republic of Vietnam, Secretary Mansfield triumphed over debilitating combat wounds to earn the respect and admiration of veterans of every generation through his years of devotion to Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wounded Warrior Project, and to VA.

“As VA’s Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer from January 22, 2004, to January 20, 2009, and as Acting Secretary from October 1, 2007, to December 20, 2007, Secretary Mansfield was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the nation’s second-largest federal agency. He was instrumental in establishing VA’s nursing academy and personally oversaw the largest IT reorganization within the federal government and VA’s multibillion-dollar construction program, including the initial planning for VA’s state-of-the art medical center in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“On behalf of America’s 22 million veterans, I salute the memory of a brave man, a great patriot, a devoted public servant, and a tireless advocate for all veterans. I extend my deepest personal condolences to the entire Mansfield family.”

• On Wednesday, March 6, former NFL star kicker Matt Stover will serve as the Master of Ceremonies to thank the corpsmen, medics and pararescuemen of the U.S. military at the annual Armed Services YMCA Annual Angels of the Battlefield Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building. The event highlights the individual men and women on the frontlines who are saving lives and demonstrated extraordinary courage.

The Armed Services YMCA works with the military services to select outstanding corpsmen, medics and pararescuemen from the Army, Army Reserve, Navy, Navy Reserve, Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air National Guard and Army Guard, who accepted the awards on behalf of their fellow corpsmen and medics for their dedication and commitment to service.

The Armed Services YMCA of the USA makes military life easier, and remains a fiscally responsible, top 10 military charity, as rated by charitywatch.org. The Armed Services YMCA has 16 branches and 45 affiliates that provide free programs like Operation Kid Comfort, a free photo quilt program for children of deployed, programs for spouses, active-duty, wounded warriors, and military children to help them stress less and connect more. To learn more, please visit www.asymca.org.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email sgtshaft@bavf.org.