Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced that Charles L. Cragin has been selected as the principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, effective September 4, 1997.
Cragin will serve as the senior deputy to the assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs in the formulation of policy and overall supervision of the Reserve components of the armed forces of the United States.
He will be the chief staff advisor to the assistant secretary for all functional areas and responsibilities assigned to the office of Reserve Affairs.
Prior to this assignment, Cragin served from 1991 to 1997 as the first presidentially- appointed, Senate-confirmed Chairman of the Board of Veterans' Appeals of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In that capacity, he was the chief executive and operating officer of the Board, an organization that decides veterans' appeals of VA claims adjudication actions.
Cragin administered an annual operating budget of $37 million and directed the activities of more than 525 personnel, including veterans law judges, attorneys, and support personnel.
He is a recipient of the Exceptional Service Award, that Department's highest civilian decoration.
Born in Portland, Maine, on October 9, 1943, Cragin enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduating from high school.
After leaving active duty in 1964, he obtained his commission in the Navy Reserve and currently serves at the rank of captain in the position of Navy emergency preparedness liaison officer to First Continental U.S. Army.
Cragin holds a bachelor of science and doctor of law degrees at the University of Maine under the GI Bill.
He ranked first in his law class (1970) and first on the Maine Bar examination administered that year. He has served as a member of Maine's Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, as chairman of the board of a long-term care facility, and as chairman of the Governor's Special Commission on Child Abuse and Protective Services.
In 1988, Cragin became the first lawyer in a Maine law firm to be admitted as a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
In addition, he represented municipal governments, school districts, public utilities, and insurance companies.
Cragin is a member of the executive committee of the board of directors of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, a director of the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation, and a member of the advisory board of the Potomac Division of the American Automobile Association.
Cragin also served on the U.S. Department of Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) and the U.S. Small Business Administration National Advisory Council.
He is a former member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Hospital Attorneys.
His military awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, and the Navy Expeditionary Medal.
He is a life member of the Naval Reserve Association, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
Cragin is married to the former Maureen Patricia Ford of Atlanta, Ga.
He has three daughters from a previous marriage.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional information, contact Glenda Kendrick, (703) 693-8617 or Lt. Col. Terry Jones, (703) 695-3620, office of the assistant secretary of defense, Reserve Affairs.)