Gordon H. Mansfield, 71, died of aortic disease at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center on January 29, 2013. Formerly of Alexandria, Va., he lived in St. Michaels, Md., and Naples, Fla.
A combat-wounded veteran, he dedicated his life to veteran’s service. He joined the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) board of directors in 2009 following his role as the deputy secretary and chief operating officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from 2004 to 2009. He served as acting secretary of Veterans Affairs from October 1, 2007 through December 20, 2007.
From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Mansfield served as the VA assistant secretary for congressional and legislative affairs, functioning as the senior legislative advisor to the secretary of Veterans Affairs and representing the VA’s programs, policies, investigations, and legislative agenda to Congress.
Before joining the VA, Mr. Mansfield was the executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), an organization that represents and advocates for paralyzed veterans. As the executive director, he oversaw daily operations of PVA’s national Washington, DC office. Mr. Mansfield held several positions at PVA from 1981 to 1989. Mr. Mansfield served as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1989 to 1993. Prior to 1981, he practiced law in Ocala, Florida.
Mr. Mansfield was born Sept. 15, 1941, in Pittsfield, Mass. After graduating from Villanova University he joined the US Army in 1964 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. While serving as company commander with the 101st Airborne Division during his second tour, he was wounded in the Tet Offensive of 1968, sustaining a spinal cord injury. For his actions under fire, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He was medically retired at the rank of captain. His other combat decorations include the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Presidential Unit Citation. Mr. Mansfield was inducted into the US Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in 1997 and the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2007.
While recovering from wounds sustained in Vietnam, he began studying for his law degree at American University, and eventually graduated from the University of Miami in 1973.
Mr. Mansfield also received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Robert Dole Service to Our Nation Award, Disabled American Veterans Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year Award, and was inducted into the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame.
His first marriage, to Suzanne Petroske, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Linda Coughtry Mansfield of St. Michaels; two sons from his first marriage, Gordon P. Mansfield of Leesburg and Leon Mansfield of Ashburn; three sisters; one brother; and four grandchildren
Wake will be at Everly-Wheatly at 1500 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, Va., on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, from 4 to 8 p.m. with Mass at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at 11 a.m.
Interment at Arlington National Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Contributions in Mr. Mansfield's honor may be made to the Fisher House, Wounded Warrior Project or Paralyzed Veterans of America.