The National Veterans Foundation is honored to add one of our nation’s most accomplished and respected combat Veterans and Veteran advocates, Senator Max Cleland, to its Honorary Board of Directors. A Vietnam vet, Senator Cleland has served the United States as a Captain in the Army, Chief of US Veterans Affairs, Secretary of State of Georgia and US Senator. He is currently the Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Senator Cleland’s history with NVF President Shad Meshad goes back more than 40 years, when the two worked together during the Carter Administration to create the VA’s groundbreaking Vet Center Program.
“We are very excited to add Max to our Honorary Board,” said NVF President Shad Meshad. “I cannot think of one other combat Veteran since Vietnam who has accomplished more or who has done more for our Veterans. Max is a force to be reckoned with. He’s been a friend of the NVF for decades and I’m honored to make that connection official.”
Senator Cleland served in Vietnam as a Captain in the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment. He fought in the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968 and was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with “V” Device, Soldier’s Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. A month before his tour of duty was up, Cleland was wounded when a fellow soldier accidentally dropped an armed grenade nearby. His injuries resulted in doctors amputating both of Cleland’s legs above the knee, and his right forearm. He was 25 years old.
As a Georgia State Senator from 1971 to 1975, Cleland was known as an advocate for Veterans’ affairs. President Carter made him the chief administrator of Veterans Affairs (now a cabinet position) where he served from 1977 to 1981. He served as Georgia’s Secretary of State for 14 years, and in the U.S. Senate from 1996 to 2002. In addition, he served on the 9/11 Commission, the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and taught at American University. In 2009, President Obama nominated Senator Cleland to serve as Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission.
“There are few Americans, or Vietnam combat Veterans, with more distinguished and accomplished careers than Max Cleland,” said Meshad. “It’s our honor to have him on our Honorary Board of Directors.”
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