Eric Shinseki

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, a retired Army general, sees his chief commitment as taking care of military veterans who had been taking care of the nation.

And St. Louis, he said, has a key role to play in fulfilling that mission.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

It's been a bad year for the John Cochran Veterans Administration Medical Center in St. Louis.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 1:58 p.m. Feb. 10, 2011 with comment from Rep. Carnahan

St. Louis Congressman Russ Carnahan says he remains frustrated by the systemic problems and slow pace of improvements at the Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis.

UPDATED 1:45 p.m. Feb. 8, 2011:

Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk of Illinois joined Missouri counterparts Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt in a letter Monday seeking the explanation from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.