December 9, 2003
U.S. Senator Zell Miller, D-GA
Committee Statement on the Nomination of Max Cleland to the Board of
the Export-Import Bank of the United States
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee:
In all of my years in politics, I know of no other person who has
embodied leadership, service and sacrifice more than Max Cleland.
On and off the battlefield Max’s story should serve as a continual
inspiration to us all.
When his nation called in 1966, Max Cleland didn’t hesitate. He
answered the call to arms and went to battle. His answer was, ‘Count
He volunteered for service, and he volunteered for Vietnam when he
could have stayed stateside and been safe and sound.
During his service in uniform, Max received the Silver Star Medal, one
of the highest awards that can be given for gallantry in action.
Listen to this citation:
“Captain Cleland distinguished himself by exceptionally
valorous action on 4 April 1968 … during an enemy attack near Khe
“When the battalion command post came under a heavy enemy
rocket and mortar attack, Captain Cleland, disregarding his own
safety, exposed himself to the rocket barrage as he left his covered
position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades. He then
assisted in moving the injured personnel to covered positions.
“Continuing to expose himself, Captain Cleland organized his men
into a work party to repair the battalion communications equipment,
which had been damaged by enemy fire.
“His gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of the
military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and
the United States Army.”
Those are not my words. That’s Uncle Sam talking.
And four days after that incident that earned him the Silver Star came
the grenade explosion that so grievously wounded him. His would be a
great story if you stopped there. But Max Cleland didn’t stop there.
He continued to lead by courageously overcoming this tragedy and
serving in the Georgia state Senate. And he followed that up by
distinguished tours of duty as head of the Veterans Administration and
as an esteemed member of this body.
I have known and respected and loved Max Cleland for over 30 years.
His is an American story; one of inspiration for us all. Mr. Chairman,
I have no doubt that the Export-Import Bank and the nation will
benefit by his appointment and service on this board.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Miller submitted the above remarks
into the official record of former Sen. Max Cleland’s nomination
hearing to join the Board of the Export-Import Bank.