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Michaeljulius Idani

Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina, son of Togo West Sr. and Evelyn Carter, both high school educators. As a youth West was a gifted student, encouraged by both parents to reach his full potential. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America, eventually earning the distinction of Eagle Scout with bronze palms. In 1959 he graduated valedictorian from Atkins High School where both his parents taught.

After high school West moved to Washington, D.C., to attend Howard University. As an undergraduate his campus life was steeped in the civil rights movement. West was involved in several service organizations and played an active role in the university community advocating for social justice. Upon graduation in 1965 West was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Field Artillery Corps. In 1966 he married classmate Gail Berry they ...