Regimental Division,
Office Chief of Signal

United States Army Signal Center, Fort Gordon, GA
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Header insignia for Distinguished Member biography pageDistinguished Member of the Regiment biography for

Sen. Joseph Maxwell Cleland (1997)

Sen. Max Cleland, U.S. senator from Georgia, served in the Army from 1965 to 1968 and as a Signal Corps officer from Oct. 18, 1967 to Dec. 23, 1968 in Vietnam, where he was severely wounded in a grenade explosion. Sen. Cleland was an aide to then-BG Tom Rienzi at Fort Monmouth, N.J., when he volunteered for duty with 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam. First assigned to 1st Cavalry’s Signal battalion, CPT Cleland then volunteered as communications officer for 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, which had been chosen for Operation Pegasus – the relief of Khe Sanh – in April 1968. CPT Cleland was on a mountaintop with his Signal team to set up a radio relay when he lost his legs and right arm to a grenade explosion. For Khe Sanh he received the Bronze Star for meritorious service and Silver Star for gallantry in action.

In 1970 he was elected to the Georgia state senate at age 28 – the youngest member and only Vietnam vet at the time. He wrote the state law that makes public facilities more accessible to the elderly and handicapped.

In 1977 he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to head the U.S. Veterans Administration. He was the youngest VA administrator ever at age 34 and the first Vietnam veteran to head the agency.

In 1982 he was elected the youngest Georgia Secretary of State. He won a national award from the U.S. Small Business Administration for creating the First Stop Business Information Center in the Secretary of State’s office.

In 1996 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he serves on the Armed Services, Governmental Affairs and Small Business committees. He was named one of Time magazine’s Rising Democrats and was honored by the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., with a Victory Award for the way he has overcome his disability. The Signal Regiment inducted Sen. Cleland as a Distinguished Member in 1997.

Left-pointing arrow Back to main Distinguished Member of the Regiment page | green arrow in circle pointing left; navigation for "back to" instructions Regimental Special Projects Officer

CPT Joseph Maxwell Cleland, Signal Corps
Cleland as a Signal Corps captain, Vietnam.

Sen. Max Cleland
Cleland as U.S. senator from Georgia.

Last modified on:
April 04, 2012

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