PARTNER NEWS RELEASE FROM SCDVA and SC GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE
COLUMBIA, SC – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster held a news conference on Tuesday, February 7th to announce the retirement of Major General (Ret.) Will Grimsley as Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Major General Grimsley served as the inaugural Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs for nearly three years, following his Senate confirmation in March of 2020. Since his time as Secretary, Grimsley is credited for his vision of thriving Veterans as the proper mission for the Department, and his recognition that substantial improvements to the lives of South Carolina Veterans can be achieved by more effectively and efficiently integrating the efforts of the multitude of organizations serving Veterans in the state – without any substantial increase in the resources required.
Grimsley has launched numerous programs within SCDVA, including the South Carolina Veteran Coalition and the Palmetto Pathfinder Program. He has also worked with state lawmakers in support of legislation to improve the quality of life for Service Members, Veterans and Families in the Palmetto state, including a big legislative victory in May of 2022 with the passing of the Governor-supported Workforce Enhancement and Military Recognition Act.
Grimsley is acknowledged for obtaining federal funds to expand Veteran Treatment Courts in South Carolina, establishing the annual Governor’s Summit on Veterans’ Affairs to provide transparency and accountability for the department’s operations, initiating the process for the creation of two additional state Veteran cemeteries, establishing a relationship with the National Veteran Legal Services Program to provide high-quality legal support for Veteran appeals of USDVA claim decisions, and establishing a grant program to distribute funds provided for the Military Enhancement Fund. In November of 2022, Grimsley was recognized by the South Carolina Chamber as the 2022 recipient of the Sgt. William Jasper Freedom Award.
Previously, for more than 30 years Grimsley served in military assignments throughout the United States, Germany, Korea, Kuwait, multiple combat tours in Iraq, and deployments to several other nations. Grimsley held command and leadership positions at every level from platoon through corps and served on staffs from small unit levels up to both the Joint Staff and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; with his last tour as Chief of Staff of United States Strategic Command. Among his many awards and decorations, Grimsley earned the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, multiple awards of the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.
Grimsley retired from active duty in 2013 as a Major General. He then consulted in the private sector with his primary focus on training, leader development, strategic planning, and operations before being nominated by the Governor, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate to become the first Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs in March of 2020.
“It has been a distinct honor and pleasure to serve as our state’s first Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, and I am immensely proud of the work done on behalf of our Veterans by both the department and our many partners across the state," says Grimsley. "After three years, I believe the department has established itself as an effective advocate for Veterans, active-duty service members, and their families in South Carolina, and I believe that reputation will only grow stronger in the months ahead. I leave this position with complete confidence in Major General (retired) Todd McCaffrey, whom the Governor has nominated as my replacement. I know of no better candidate to serve the Veteran community.”
Governor McMaster has announced retired Major General Todd McCaffrey as the nominee to serve as the new Secretary of Veterans' Affairs in South Carolina following Grimsley's departure. McCaffrey, who also has more than 30 years of military service, completed his military career as the chief of staff of U.S. Africa Command. He also served as the Senior Director of Strategic Partnership for Military and Government Programs at the University of South Carolina.
McCaffrey is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and holds master's degrees in economics from the Colorado School of Mines and in national security studies from the U.S. Army War College. He is a three-time recipient of the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal and has been awarded the Bronze Star multiple times for meritorious service in combat.
"South Carolina is home to more military retirees than almost any other state in the country, making it vital that we invest, care for, and assist our veterans and their families in every way possible," said Governor McMaster. "With over 34 years of military service Maj. Gen. McCaffrey is a proven leader and he is the right person to add to the already great work being done at the Department of Veterans' Affairs."
"I both welcome and appreciate the opportunity to serve South Carolina veterans in this important role," said Maj. Gen. McCaffrey. "I look forward to continuing Secretary Grimsley's legacy of assisting veterans, integrating services of those who support veterans, and advocating for our military installations, service members, and family members across the state."
McCaffrey must first be confirmed before a Senate committee prior to being named the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs. That hearing will be held in the coming weeks. SCDVA will provide an update once the hearings conclude.