R. James “Jim” Nicholson served as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under President George W. Bush from February 2005 through September 2007. In that role, Mr. Nicholson was the principal advocate for veterans in the U.S. government, ensuring that they received the care, support, recognition and dignity they deserved for their service to our country. Prior to his tenure at the VA, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See where he was knighted by Pope John Paul II for his leadership on human rights issues. Nicholson is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served eight years on active duty as a paratrooper and Ranger, then 22 years in the Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of colonel. While serving in Vietnam, he earned the Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and two Air Medals.