Obama said Monday that Hagel, who volunteered for Vietnam and served there as a private and sergeant, would be the first enlisted man to become secretary of defense. Hagel served alongside his brother; both were wounded in combat.
His experiences in Vietnam have shaped his views today, Hagel says.
In an October interview with the online Vietnam Magazine, Hagel recalled telling himself in 1968, ‘‘If I ever get out of this and I'm ever in a position to influence policy, I will do everything I can to avoid needless, senseless war.’’
Associated Press writers Donna Cassata and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.
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