Brigadier General Jemal J. Beale, the adjutant general who oversees the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, is stepping down from his job in the wake of staggering death toll from the coronavirus at two of the state-run veterans homes, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.
Deputy Adjutant General, Col. Dr. Lisa J. Hou, a surgeon, will take over for Beale on an interim basis, effectively immediately, Murphy announced. Cabinet appointments need Senate confirmation.
The announcement includes a major shake-up that will eventually include new CEOs at two of three veterans homes that suffered widespread infection and death during the pandemic.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, despite significant challenges, DMAVA has worked to save lives and support our veterans,” Murphy said in a statement. “Having served as a Field Surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of the conflicts and as a respected medical professional, Dr. Hou will