Honorable Few – Capt. J.J. Harris

Marine Corps League Detachment #1302

VA’s Under Secretary of Memorial Affairs to step down in late May

Veterans Affairs’ top official in charge of cemetery and memorial services will step down at the end of this month, opening up a key leadership post at the department.

Under Secretary of Memorial Affairs Matthew Quinn has served in that role since June 2021. His last day will be May 23. VA officials have not yet named an official to take over the leadership post on an acting basis.

In a message to National Cemetery Administration staff, Quinn said he is making the move to spend more time with his family. He praised department employees for their professionalism and success over the last three years.

“We have significantly increased awareness of the benefits NCA is able to provide to veterans,” he wrote. “We have drastically reduced the time veterans wait to know they are eligible for interment in a VA national cemetery. And we have greatly enhanced our relationship with our partners in the states, tribes, and territories, ensuring veterans have access to national shrines befitting veterans’ service to our country close to where they live.”

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In a statement, VA Secretary Denis McDonough lauded Quinn for his leadership within the department.

“Our mission in VA’s National Cemetery Administration is to honor veterans when they pass away and to help veteran families through one of the most difficult times of their lives,” he said.

“Under General Quinn’s steadfast leadership, NCA has done exactly that, both by providing our nation’s heroes with the lasting resting places they so rightly deserve, and by honoring their memories long after they’re gone.”

Quinn is a retired Army major general who served nearly 37 years on active duty and in the Army National Guard. Prior to his VA appointment, he served as commander of the Montana National Guard and later president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States.

The undersecretary post oversees construction, maintenance and operations of 272 veterans cemeteries nationwide, as well as other national shrines and memorials.

In recent years, that work has also included the creation and expansion of the Veterans Legacy Memorial project, which allows relatives of deceased veterans to set up websites honoring their loved ones.

Quinn’s retirement leaves a vacancy in one of the department’s five Senate-confirmed leadership posts.

All five of those posts have been filled for the last 12 months, a rarity for the department in recent history. Before April 2023, the last time all the leadership posts were filled with Senate-confirmed nominees was 2014.

White House officials have not announced when they expect to nominate a permanent replacement for Quinn.