President Obama's choice for the next US defence secretary is a Republican politician and a decorated Vietnam veteran. Here are some facts about his life:
- Grew up in a poor family in North Platte, Nebraska
- Gained military experience as an infantry squad leader in the Vietnam war
- Would be one of the few secretaries who has been wounded in war (he still has shrapnel lodged in his chest)
- As a businessman, he made a fortune in the fledgling mobile phone industry
- Served as Republican Senator for Nebraska twice
- Criticised George W. Bush administration over the Iraq War
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