MADISON • Governor Scott Walker announced today that he has selected John Scocos to serve as the next Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. As Deputy Secretary, the Governor has chosen Jason Johns.
“I consulted with many veteran organizations throughout the state in choosing the next WDVA Secretary,” said Governor Walker. “Throughout the process it was clear that John would be an outstanding Secretary and that Jason was also an impressive candidate. Together, they will make an outstanding team to bring together veterans throughout the state and accomplish great things for our veterans, both young and old.”
Scocos served two tours in Iraq as a highly decorated officer and is currently in the United States Army Retired Reserve. He is a former Secretary of WDVA. While Secretary, Scocos helped guide the passage of the Wisconsin GI Bill and the creation of the Mission Welcome Home Program. His experience will be beneficial as WDVA explores options to improve the solvency of the Veterans Trust Fund and begins operation of a new veteran’s nursing home.
Jason Johns is a decorated Iraq War veteran. He voluntarily re-enlisted to serve in Iraq after 9/11. Johns is a Purple Heart recipient from combat related wounds he received during hostile actions in Iraq.
Releases from organizations on the appointment are attached to this email.
The following are statements from various veterans service organizations regarding the appointment of John Scocos:
Veterans of Foreign Wars
“The unfortunate removal by the Board of Veterans Affairs was a very controversial subject among Wisconsin Veterans and the Veterans Organizations. We are strongly recommending his appointment.”
Larry Kutschma, Commander
Thomas Lemmer, Immediate Past Commander
“As a serving officer of the U.S. Army, John is certainly qualified to know and understand veteran’s needs. Colonel Scocos, by having held previously that position successfully, would be an asset to the state and its veterans.”
William Bottoms, State Editor, WI VFW News
“Wisconsin has a great military heritage and based on my experience working with active duty and military veterans there is much work that still needs to be done to serve those who have served our country. I am confident Colonel Scocos has the right military leadership to serve as Wisconsin’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs and serve our military, our veterans and their families.”
Chris Cornelius, Judge Advocate, VFW Post 7784 and Chair for the Oneida Veterans Affairs Committee for the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin
“We find ourselves uniquely qualified to support Mr. Scocos’s candidacy as we have observed him in action across the state. We have witnessed first?hand his dedication to the veterans he serves, and his willingness to do what it takes in order to see that those veterans find benefits they have earned. We believe you will be hard?pressed to find a more qualified candidate.”
Denise Rohan, Commander
James Rohan, Past Department Adjutant
Disabled American Veterans
“It is important that our veterans and military have the highest moral leadership to lead this very important department of our state government. I could think of no other person more qualified than Mr. Scocos.”
Kevin “KC” Johnson, Commander
“As a Past National Commander of Disabled American Veterans (1993?1994) and someone who has been – and still is? actively involved the veterans’ community, I am fully aware of the debt our state and nation owe to its defenders and veterans. I know that Mr. Scocos has the knowledge, ability and desire to do what is best for Wisconsin’s veterans and their families, and I wholeheartedly ask for your consideration in seeing that he is your choice to get our house back in order in Madison.”
Richard Marbes, Past National Commander and Past WDVA Board Member
“Mr. Scocos is the only viable candidate based on a number of factors: His vast understanding of administrative management of state agencies, his well known stakeholder involvement with veterans service organizations, his expertise on the legislative process, his national presence as a past President of the National Association of State Departments of Veterans Affairs and his unique understanding of the needs of current veterans based off his own personal two tours in Iraq.”
Gene Wagner, Immediate Past Commander
“Secretary Scocos was the only cabinet level officer to be activated for the war in Iraq. By serving shoulder to shoulder with the troops in Iraq who better to know the needs of the returning veterans than John Scocos. He served with them, now we need to let him serve them again as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.”
James Endres, Past Commander
Military Order of the Purple Heart
“During his tenure as WDVA Secretary, John Scocos proved himself to be an exceptional advocate for all Veterans of all wars and those who served in peacetime. Please re?appoint Patriot Scocos and restore both his reputation and the non partisan reputation of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.”
William Hustad, Immediate Past Commander
“Patriot Colonel Scocos is highly regarded by members of our organization and other veterans. His willingness to serve two combat tours in Iraq demonstrates his commitment to our nation and the Veterans of the State of Wisconsin.”
Rick Cherone, Past Commander
“I personally worked with Secretary Scocos on a number of issues important to our organization. His support of both Purple Heart Day in Wisconsin and important modifications to the Purple Heart License Plate were critical to those laws passage in the legislature.
John O’Brien, Past Senior Vice Commander
“Secretary Scocos was appointed by the Board of Veterans Affairs with the approval of former DVA Secretary Ray Boland who is a lifetime member of Wisconsin Chapter 770 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. During his tenure as DVA Secretary, John Scocos proved himself to be an exceptional advocate for all Veterans of all wars and those who served in peacetime.”
Gary Lapp, Past Chapter 164 (Green Bay) Commander
Vietnam Veterans of America
“Mr. Scocos has past knowledge in the operation of the Department of Veteran Affairs and would be able to repair the integrity of the WDVA.”
Richard Lindbeck, President
Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc.
“Reinstatement of Mr. Scocos to this appointment would benefit the veterans of Wisconsin. By employing Mr. Scocos, Wisconsin taxpayers, in particular our large veteran population, would be gaining a knowledgeable and dedicated professional of veterans’ issues.”
Robert Piaro, Chief Executive Officer
Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Department of Wisconsin
“As a State Commander of the Jewish War Veterans Department of Wisconsin, I am requesting that you select John A. Scocos for the job as Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s Affairs.”
Sam Gingold, Commander
“Mr. Scocos has the experience to understand the administrative management of the state agencies, his knowledge and expertise about the legislative process, his involvement in the stakeholder program with veterans service organizations, his term as Past National President of the National Association of State Department of Veterans Affairs and his unique ability to understand the needs of past, present and future veterans from his experience of two personal tours in Iraq.”
Paul Fine, Past Commander
U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II
“Wisconsin State Chapter – U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II hereby wishes to nominate for appointment of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Mr. John Scocos to the duties of Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Owen Williams, Acting Commander
Great Lakes Inter?Tribal Council, Inc.
“During his earlier tenure as Secretary, Mr. Scocos developed a strong working relationship with our tribal leaders. He always did his best to listen to their concerns, meet their needs and those of Wisconsin’s Native American veterans.”
Michael Allen, Sr., Executive Director
Dryhootch of America, Inc.
“John understands the needs of today’s veterans and families. This letter of support is apolitical, as is the cause of veterans who deserve everyone’s support. We support John because he is the right person to fill this very important role today.”
Robert Curry, President
82nd Airborne Division Association, Inc., Badger State Chapter
“This letter is intended by me and members of the Badger State Chapter to support the re?instatement of Colonel John A. Scocos as the Sec. of Veterans Affairs for the State of Wisconsin.”
Tom Gaukel, Past Chairman and Trustee
WI AT&T Pioneers
“I am writing to endorse John Scocos as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. I had numerous contacts with him when he previously held the position – all of them very positive. He has a very real concern for our Veterans and it shows in his attitude and actions.”
Karen Schilling, Chapter 4 President
“My involvement with the Military has been very special to me; you see I am a Military Mother too and very proud of our Men and Women. I think the Veterans of Wisconsin would be best served by having Mr. Scocos back in the capacity of Secretary of Department of Veterans Affairs. I would be HONORED to work with Mr. Scocos once again.”
Judy Anderson, Project Leader for H.O.M.E. (Helping Our Military Everyday)
Mission Welcome Home Beneficiaries
“If it wasn’t for John I would be working full time and not about to complete my bachelor’s degree. I would also still be suffering from injuries and sleep deprivation.
With the help of the Mission Welcome Home program I’m set up for success.”
“Through the help of the Mission Welcome Home Program and Secretary John Scocos I was able to gain the assistance that I needed to enter into college and gain my VA health care to deal with my post deployment health issues.”
Edgewood College Veteran