North Carolina military affairs secretary stepping down, with ex-legislator as successor

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s second-term Cabinet secretary for military and veterans affairs is retiring, and a former state legislator who has been working at the Pentagon is taking his place.

Cooper’s office announced on Thursday that Walter Gaskin, a retired three-star Marine Corps general who became secretary in 2021, is retiring from state government.

Succeeding him effective Monday will by Grier Martin, who is currently the assistant secretary of defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Martin, a former soldier, served two stints in the state House as a Wake County Democrat going back to 2005 before resigning in 2022 to work in Washington.

Cooper said in a news release that Gaskin, once the commanding officer of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, “served North Carolina with distinction and we have leaned upon his remarkable military experience to strengthen our support networks and services for veterans and their families.”

The Governor added that he is confident Martin “will continue our efforts to make North Carolina the most military and veteran friendly state in the nation.”

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs manages state veterans’ nursing homes and cemeteries, and it promotes activities to support military installations in North Carolina and the quality of life for current and retired service members.

The change in leadership comes as state legislators have held recent oversight hearings scrutinizing the closing of the State Veterans Home in Fayetteville and questioning other leaders within the department.

The secretary’s post, like other Cabinet positions, is subject to state Senate confirmation.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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