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James B. Peake

Organizational Histories > Commanders of the U.S. Army Medical Department

Picture of James B. PeakeJAMES B. PEAKE, whose nomination to the position of U.S. Army Surgeon General was confirmed Sept. 7 by the U.S. Senate, will be, when sworn in, the Army's 40th Surgeon General to hold this position, which carries with it promotion to the rank of three-star general.

Peake replaces Lt. Gen. Ronald R. Blanck, who retired from active duty June 30 after 31 years of service and nearly four years as the Army's "top doc."

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and former infantry officer, Peake has been serving as acting commander of U.S. Army Medical Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, since June 9. Prior to that, he filled a dual position as commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School and commander of Fort Sam Houston.

A St. Louis, Mo., native, Peake received his bachelor of science degree from West Point in 1966 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry.

Following service in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Silver Star, a Bronze Star with "V" device and the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, Peake entered medical school at Cornell University in New York. He was awarded a medical doctorate in 1972.

Peake served as deputy commander of the Army Medical Command for 17 months before assuming command of the Center and School and Fort Sam Houston. Prior to moving to Fort Sam Houston, he served as commanding general of Madigan Army Medical Center and the Northwest Health Service Support Activity in Tacoma, Wash., and commanding general of the 44th Medical Brigade and Corps Surgeon for the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C.

He also commanded the 18th Medical Command and the 121st Evacuation Hospital in Seoul, Korea, where he also was command surgeon for the 8th Army. Peake began his Army Medical career as a general surgery resident at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.

A board certified thoracic surgeon, Peake is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a fellow of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He is also a 1988 graduate of the Army War College.

His awards and decorations also include the Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and an Air Medal. Peake also wears a Combat Infantryman Badge and a Combat Medic Badge.