Showing posts with label Max Cleland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Max Cleland. Show all posts

Monday, April 29, 2013

Memories would not cease to haunt Max Cleland

Max Cleland is a Vietnam veteran among many other things but it is because of his service in Vietnam that he has done the rest with his life. When you are aware of what it was like when Vietnam and older veterans came home, no one was talking about what we call PTSD now. They didn't have the support from their communities and found it hard to find each other. They didn't have the Internet or anything it has offered the newer generation of veterans. Because Vietnam veteran we willing to fight this battle, we have what is available for veterans now.
Vietnam Veterans Reunion Proves Moving
The Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Reunion in Silver Spring evokes great range of emotion
By Mark W. Sanchez
April 29, 2013

His scraggly grey hair curling from both his beard and head, Bruce Smith looked hesitantly up from his wheelchair.

“I’m probably going to have some nightmares after this,” Smith said.

Nearing four decades after the Vietnam War ended, the veteran spoke disgustedly about Agent Orange and its effects.

He came to The Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Reunion at the Silver Spring Civic Building Monday because employees at the Silver Spring Vet Center had urged him to discover avenues available to him to deal with health treatment.
Max Cleland—a Vietnam veteran, triple-amputee and former Georgia senator—spoke eloquently and decisively about the sacrifices each person in the roughly 35-veteran audience has made—many of whom, like Cleland, were missing limbs. He expressed how important it was for each of them to find something in life worth pursuing.

Cleland was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star for meritorious service and Silver Star for gallantry in action when he arrived back from Vietnam, but he described himself as having “no job, no future, no girlfriend [and] no car.”

With one arm and no legs, Cleland questioned his life’s direction, now that he was “on this side of the wall,” referring to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in which is sketched each American death from the war.

And he was simultaneously dealing with serious effects from the war.

“If you don’t have (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), then you’re crazy,” Cleland said.

He knew that the memories would not cease to haunt him.
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Max Cleland faced PTSD from Vietnam

Decades later, Max Cleland faced PTSD from Vietnam

The unwavering voice of a U.S. senator echoed through the halls of Walter Reed Army Medical Center from a video. The senator encouraged the newly wounded soldiers to "get strong at the broken places" and "turn their scars into stars."

Max Cleland, the former senator and Stetson University alumnus, should know. He survived the unthinkable, losing his legs and right arm in a grenade explosion in Vietnam.

And at the same time the video of him played on that day four years ago, Cleland was in another office receiving counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -- about 36 years after first being saved in the same hospital and patched together from his physical war injuries.

"It's like the flip side of my life. On one side of the wall, there I was on the video saying how you can overcome and on the other side of the wall, I'm crying like a baby," Cleland, 67, said in a phone interview.

He shared insight into his experience in his book, "Heart of a Patriot," which includes his struggle with PTSD. The pain and depression of losing his legs and right arm in Vietnam in 1968 was something he buried deep inside. It came to the surface when his life went awry after losing his Senate re-election bid in a bitter battle in 2002.
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Max Cleland faced PTSD from Vietnam

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Former VA head and Georgia senator Max Cleland helps local veterans

Former VA head and Georgia senator Max Cleland helps local veterans
July 9, 2010
TAVARES — Max Cleland, a former U.S. senator permanently disabled in the Vietnam War, on Friday helped troubleshoot complaints of veterans frustrated by red tape binding their medical and pension benefits.

Cleland, 67, who lost both legs and his right forearm in combat in 1968, accompanied U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D- Orlando, to forums for Central Florida veterans in Tavares and Winter Garden.

"The nation has a built-in obligation, a moral obligation, that if we send people to war…to take care of them when they come home," said Cleland, who served as Veteran Affairs administrator under President Jimmy Carter, a fellow Georgian. "Wars are not over [for soldiers] when the shooting stops."

In Tavares, veterans griped about a wide range of issues — from shoddy medical care, VA bureaucracy and proposed taxes on prosthetic limbs to their inability to find jobs or win relief from a home foreclosure.
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Max Cleland helps local veterans

Monday, November 2, 2009

Heart of a Patriot

A veteran's 'Heart': Cleland book covers more than politics
By Press-Register Correspondent
November 01, 2009, 2:01PM
Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove

By Max Cleland with Ben Raines; Simon and Schuster, $26

Reviewed by SCOTTY E. KIRKLAND/Special to the Press-Register
The intoxicating lure of politics caught Max Cleland at an early age. In 1952, when he was only 10 years old, Cleland watched the televised Democratic National Convention and decided to campaign for Adlai Stevenson. He recruited the girl next door, and the two fashioned signs out of sticks and old pieces of cardboard. As cars drove past, the young politicos would run along side, shouting, “Adlai for President!” Before he even knew what it meant, Max Cleland was a Yellow Dog Democrat.

Cleland’s new book, “Heart of a Patriot,” tells a much more complex story than the typical political autobiography. Co-authored by award-winning Press-Register reporter Ben Raines, it is clearly more than simple campaign literature. “Heart of a Patriot” explores some of the darker periods in the senator’s life, from his near-fatal injuries in Vietnam and his bouts with depression, to the vicious 2002 campaign waged against him in his bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Max Cleland arrived in Vietnam in June 1967 as a second lieutenant in the First Air Calvary Division, and he was awarded a Bronze and a Silver Star for heroic service and gallantry in combat. In the spring of 1968, shortly after fighting in the battle of Khe Sahn, he was horribly injured, losing both legs and his right arm in a grenade explosion. Cleland recounts the weeks following the accident with vivid detail, including his first meeting with his parents. He spent the next year in Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., recovering from his injuries.

Even though all other veterans from past wars suffered the same kind of
When Georgia native Jimmy Carter was elected president, he named the 34-year-old Cleland head of the Veterans Administration. Cleland brought to his new position a personal knowledge of the needs of returning soldiers. During his four-year tenure at the VA, Cleland lobbied for the expansion of benefits to cover emotional as well as physical trauma.

eternal/internal wound, it took Vietnam veterans like Max Cleland to come home and fight for this wound to be treated. Don't be startled by use of the word "eternal" because it will never be cured, but what is most important is that it can be healed with help. Veterans can find peace with what has been so they can live lives instead of just existing in a body and suffering. They were the first to fight for this, but the last to be acknowledged for it.

Cleland writes frankly about his experiences following his defeat. He sank into a deep depression that only worsened with the beginning of the Iraq War in April 2003. The war brought back painful memories for Cleland and, for the first time, he sought the assistance of professional counselors. Ironically, such help might have been unavailable if he had not lobbied to expand the VA’s counseling program in the late 1970s. Now he benefited from the very program he had helped create.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

For Max Cleland, Politics Was A Refuge From War

Courtesy of The Max Cleland Collection, duPont-Ball Library, Stetson UniversityMax Cleland reads Arthur Schlesinger's biography of John F. Kennedy, A Thousand Days, while recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1968.

For Max Cleland, Politics Was A Refuge From War

October 6, 2009
As a boy growing up in a small town in Georgia, Max Cleland, a former Democratic senator from Georgia, was inspired by the adventures of the Lone Ranger on his TV screen.

Just as the Lone Ranger was motivated by a sense of duty, so was Cleland. As he tells NPR's Renee Montagne, Cleland's parents raised him "to be an eagle, not a sparrow." When he was in college, he joined the ROTC and volunteered to go to war in Vietnam. There, he was brutally maimed by a grenade that a fellow soldier dropped accidentally. The explosion took away both of his legs and his right arm.

In his new memoir, Heart of a Patriot, Cleland recalls that moment, and how he overcame the trauma it caused. The book is subtitled "How I Found The Courage To Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove."

After his military service, Cleland turned to public service as a way to find meaning in life outside of his own struggles. "It meant survival. It meant a purpose and destiny," he says.

His political career spanned four decades, and ended with a loss to Republican Saxby Chambliss in 2002. Cleland says that his opponent — backed by Karl Rove's political machine — questioned his patriotism by airing attack ads that listed his votes on homeland security bills that opposed President George W. Bush's policies.
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Local author recognizes that pain of war spans the centuries

Local author recognizes that pain of war spans the centuries
By Chris Bergeron/Daily News staff
The MetroWest Daily News
Posted Aug 31, 2009 @ 12:03 AM
After he began working with Vietnam veterans, Dr. Jonathan Shay heard in their stories the same feelings of grief and betrayal that triggered "the rage of Achilles" in Homer's ancient epic, the "Iliad."

At the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston in 1987, former grunts spoke to him of the betrayal of "what's right" by officers and politicians. They revealed lingering sorrow over lost comrades and simmering rage that made their homecomings so difficult.

A Harvard-educated psychiatrist who'd never been in the military, Shay made powerful connections with them by writing stories about Homer's heros, Achilles and Odysseus, warriors like them scarred in body and soul.

"From the beginning, I had an interest in the idea that war could damage good character. War hasn't changed in 3,000 years," he said. "The Iliad is about what war has always done to people. Everyone is changed by combat but not everyone is injured."

Looking back, Shay remembers the veterans in that first program as "very rough men who'd experienced severe combat trauma and were given to rages."

"Everyone was an outpatient. There were no locked doors, no court orders. Almost all were from Vietnam," he said. Later, there were a few from World War II and Korea, he said.

Now retired, Shay credits "dumb luck" for helping him reach troubled veterans through stories from Homer's 2,700-year-old poems about the Trojan War and its aftermath.
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Local author recognizes that pain of war spans the centuries

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chambliss sees "win" when he's a loser for veterans?

I thought Georgia cared about their veterans but when you think about the two senators they have voting against veterans, they must not really care that much. Just look at this.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

GOP image goes from bad to worse, even Lincoln would have switched
Senator Saxby Chambliss D-
Senator Johnny Isakson F

I guess that in the case of veterans, and the troops when you get right down to it, Georgia must not rank veterans very high on their list of priorities. Maybe Chambliss thinks he deserves to go back to the senate since his counter part is even worse when it comes to veterans. I wounder if he would appear to be so smug if he had to look a veteran in the eye to explain his voting record against them?

Chambliss predicts victory in Georgia
By David Edwards
Sen. Saxby Chambliss told Fox’s Chris Wallace that he would “win again” in Georgia’s runoff election. Chambliss appeared on Fox News Sunday.

“If voters turnout in the same ratios and same numbers we’ll win again,” Chambliss said.

Projections suggest that black voters will only make up 23 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s runoff election. African American voters made up about 35 percent of the vote in the Nov. 4th general election. The high black turnout was credited with making Chambliss’ opponent, Jim Martin, competitive on Nov. 4th.

Chambliss doesn’t concede the black vote. “There were an awful lot of African Americans that voted for me,” he said. “I’ve reached out to the African American turnout and I continue to do that.”

This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Nov. 30, 2008.
click link for video and watch for yourself.

This must come from the fact that Chambliss didn't go when it was his turn. Remember the attacks against Max Cleland? As Max points out in this, Martin did serve but Chambliss had better things to do.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Cleland criticizes Chambliss over Viet Nam
Former Democratic Senator Max Cleland of Georgia is accusing Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of avoiding the Vietnam War "with a trick knee." Cleland, who lost his seat to Chambliss in 2002, has pointed to Chambliss' lack of military service before, but his criticism Friday was unusually direct. In a conference call with reporters, Cleland said Chambliss "got out of going to Vietnam with a trick knee and in many ways he tricked people." In contrast, Cleland said, Chambliss' current Democratic opponent, Jim Martin, served in the war. Chambliss' campaign did not immediately respond. Chambliss received a student deferment from the draft and later was turned down for service because of a bad knee. Martin worked as a noncombat personnel officer in Vietnam, while Cleland served in combat and lost three limbs in a grenade blast during a 1968 mission.

(Associated Press)

Too bad that the people of Georgia don't value the veterans enough that they matter more than keeping these two senators on their jobs when they keep voting against veterans and attacking them when they want to. Let's see what happens on Tuesday with the runoff election. I really hope Georgia plans on making something so wrong finally right. kc

Friday, November 28, 2008

The New Team Max Cleland

The New Team Max Cleland
New York Times - United States

As he prepares to take office, President-elect Barack Obama is relying on a small team of advisers who will lead his transition operation and help choose the members of his administration. Following is part of a series of profiles of potential members of the administration.

Being considered for: Secretary of veterans affairs or senior defense post

Would bring to the job: A strong military background as a former Army captain in Vietnam, where he was gravely wounded and became a triple amputee, and federal experience in veterans affairs under President Jimmy Carter. Mr. Cleland is viewed by some people, particularly liberals, as a hero for his vocal condemnation of President Bush after an onslaught of negative Republican advertising helped cost him re-election to his Senate seat in 2002.

Is linked to Mr. Obama by: Early support for Mr. Obama’s Senate campaign in 2004, as well as for his presidential run. The relationship became awkward in July when Mr. Cleland was disinvited from an Obama fund-raiser because of his role as lobbyist, but an Obama spokesman said the campaign still had the “utmost respect” for Mr. Cleland.

Used to work as: Senator from Georgia, 1997-2003; Georgia secretary of state, 1982-1996; administrator of the United States Veterans Administration, the predecessor to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1977-1981. Mr. Cleland was appointed to the Sept. 11 Commission but resigned after accusing the Bush administration of “Nixonian” efforts to conceal crucial evidence.

In his own words: “The Bible tells me that no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. ... There is no greater act of patriotism than that.” (Introduction of Senator John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.)

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day message from

On the 11th Day of the 11th Month each year, we honor all those veterans who came before us. This year, as in recent years, we also honor the newest generation of war veterans. Today is not a day for partisan politics, it's a day for the nation to come together as one to honor those who sacrificed for our nation, in uniform.
This year, however, we also have a tremendous opportunity to honor two of the greatest veterans this nation has ever seen. With the incoming administration, comes the opportunity to send incredible veterans back into government to serve this nation, as they have time and time again.
Max Cleland served our nation with honor in Vietnam, losing three limbs on the battlefield. Max could have used that as an excuse to live out the rest of his life quietly, but he did not. Upon his return, he served Veterans in his home state of Georgia, and then became the head of the Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs). He served his home state again, as a member of the U.S. Senate. Every step of the way, Max never forgot the veterans who came before him, and those who would be coming after him.
Tammy Duckworth served America in Iraq. Duckworth lost both of her legs in 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. Duckworth received a Purple Heart and was promoted to Major at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she was presented with an Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal. Upon her return home, she ran for Congress in 2006, and now serves as the head of the veterans department in Illinois. Tammy has even remained in the National Guard, showing that nothing will keep her from serving her country!
Now is the time for President-Elect Obama to show the nation that he recognizes it is important to bring America's great veterans into his administration. One way he can do that is to name Max Cleland and Tammy Duckworth to roles in his administration.
Please use today to honor the veterans in your area – volunteer your services to the local veterans center, connect with veterans in the area and listen to them about the challenges veterans face, and above all, thank them for their service. But, also take a moment to show support for two particular veterans, Max Cleland and Tammy Duckworth, and tell your friends and family to join us in asking that they be asked back into government at this crucial time for veterans in America.
Thank you for your support.
Jon Soltz
Iraq War Veteran Chairman,

Friday, July 4, 2008

Echoes of Vietnam: VA Stalls

Echoes of Vietnam: VA Stalls, Dissembles While Vets Suffer and Die

By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted July 4, 2008.

The latest episode of the Department of Veterans Affairs' callous denial of veterans' suffering is a continuation of a long tradition.

On June 10, U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs back into court. Conti is presiding over a lawsuit brought by veterans against the VA, charging the agency with systematically denying veterans the services and support they so desperately need. Conti demanded that the VA explain why it had failed to produce certain critical (and incriminating) documents.

Among those documents was an e-mail written by the now-infamous Norma Perez. It read: "Given that we have more and more compensation-seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out. Consider a diagnosis of adjustment disorder, R/O [ruling out] PTSD."

Bob Filner, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said it was inconceivable that a low-level staffer like Perez could have written such an e-mail on her own authority. Barack Obama called it "unacceptable" and "tantamount to fraud." John McCain called it "not too important."

Lost somehow in the high-decibel rhetoric of the moment is a historical dimension of this story that I think deserves some attention. This is not the first time the VA has acted as adversary rather than advocate. Thirty years ago, almost to the day, Max Cleland, then head of the VA, circulated an equally directive memo to his staff that read:

In view of the remaining uncertainties on the long-term effects of the defoliants, all VA personnel should avoid premature commitment to any diagnosis of defoliant poisoning. Similarly, entries in medical records should not contain statements about the relationship between a veteran's illnesses and defoliant exposure unless unequivocal confirmation of such a connection has been established.
(The defoliants Cleland refers to were Agent Orange and other dioxin-based chemicals the United States sprayed over Vietnam.)

In the meantime, Cleland instructed VA staff to deny all Agent Orange claims. He also refused to undertake any kind of epidemiological study because, he claimed, the necessary outreach to veterans would only cause them "needless anxiety."
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If Cleland had no clue about Agent Orange, then it was equal to his lack of clue about PTSD. He was treated for depression since Vietnam when it turned out it was PTSD.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

PTSD: When will people ever get it and understand it?

When will people ever get it? There was a thread started in Bill Maher's message board about McCain having, or not having, PTSD. While some of the posters thought the thread was more of a Swift Boat style attack, jumping to his defense, others reverted to how he is stable and successful. It's almost as if they think if someone has PTSD, he/she, becomes eligible for a mental institution for the rest of their lives. This is just one of the kinds of stereotypes they have to fight against.

Take a look at this thread and know how wrong people still get PTSD.

McCain- Is he sane? PTSD
Years of torture and prison? Can you say PTSD? Last thing I want is a guy with post tramatic stress disorder running the country with the most.

There have been many successful people with PTSD contributing to the greater good. These are just two of them. Lewis B. Puller Jr. won a Pulitzer Prize after a lengthy, successful career, he ended his own life. Max Cleland, again very successful, had been treated for depression, misdiagnosed and treated while it turned out to be PTSD. He came to the realization it was much deeper than depression following the Iraq invasion.

Again these are just to examples of people living with PTSD. They don't all become homeless, nor do they suddenly become people who should be hiding in a cave somewhere.

Lewis B. Puller Jr.

Lewis Burwell Puller Jr. was the son of General Lewis "Chesty" Puller, the most decorated Marine in the history of the Marine Corps. His son followed in his father's footsteps and became a Marine officer. Upon graduation from the College of William and Mary in 1967, Puller was shipped to Vietnam, where he was badly wounded by a landmine on October 11, 1968, losing both legs and most of his hands in the explosion.
The mine riddled his body with shrapnel, and he lingered near death for days with his weight dropping to 55 pounds, but Puller survived. Those who knew him say that it was primarily because of his iron will and his stubborn refusal to die. Because of his wounds, Puller was medically discharged from the Marine Corps. During his short active-duty military career, Puller earned the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.

For years after he returned to a reasonably sound physical condition, the emotional ground underneath him remained shaky, though he got a law degree, married, and raised a family. He even mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1978, representing eastern Virginia. Throughout the years, he battled black periods of despondency and drank heavily until 1981, when he underwent treatment for alcoholism. Despite a return to normality, Puller continued to suffer from severe depression and occasional bouts of alcoholism.

In 1991, Puller told the story of his horrible ordeal and its agonizing aftermath in an inspiring book titled Fortunate Son, an account that ended with Puller triumphing over his physical disabilities, and becoming emotionally at peace with himself. It won the Pulitzer Prize.

According to friends and associates, Puller spent the last months of his life in turmoil. In the days leading up to his death, Puller fought a losing battle with the alcoholism that he had kept at bay for 13 years, and struggled with a more recent addiction, to painkillers initially prescribed to dull continuing pain from his wounds.

Fortunate Son
Editorial Reviews
Son of the famous World War II Marine commander "Chesty" Puller, Lewis Puller proudly followed in his father's footsteps. It was his misfortune, though, to serve in Vietnam in a war that brought not honor but contempt, and exacted a brutal personal price: Puller lost both legs, one hand, and most of his buttocks and stomach. Years later he was functional enough to run for Congress, bitterly denouncing the war. He lost, became an alcoholic, and almost died again. Then he climbed out of that circle of Hell to write this searingly graphic autobiography, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. One last poignant postscript: three years after the enormous success of this book, the author killed himself. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly
The author is the son of WW II hero "Chesty" Puller, arguably the most colorful and admired Marine of them all. Seeking to emulate his father, the author joined the Corps after college and entered officers' training with the intention of becoming a combat leader. In 1968, while commanding an infantry platoon in Vietnam, Lieutenant Puller tripped a booby trap and lost both legs and one hand in the explosion. He describes his protracted hospitalization, which included a series of operations and an unsuccessful attempt to learn how to walk with the use of artificial limbs. Puller eventually became a lawyer, served on President Ford's Clemency Board, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Virginia and joined the Pentagon's legal department. His well-written autobiography is an inspiring account by a man who fought hard to win major battles over physical helplessness, severe depressions and alcoholism. Readers will treasure the author's recollections of "Chesty" (clearly a wonderful father) but may find the description of the old general's decline and death as painful as the account of the son's ordeal. 50,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Max Cleland
Early life and military service
Cleland was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 24, 1942. He grew up in Lithonia and later attended Stetson University. He went on to receive a Master's degree from Emory University.

Cleland then served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of Captain. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for valorous action in combat, including during the Battle of Khe Sanh on April 4th, 1968.

On April 8, 1968, Captain Cleland was the Battalion Signal Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during the Battle of Khe Sanh.[3]

On April 8, with a month left in his tour, Cleland was ordered to set up a radio relay station on a nearby hill. A helicopter flew him and two soldiers to the treeless top of Hill 471, east of Khe Sanh. Cleland knew some of the soldiers camped there from Operation Pegasus. He told the pilot he was going to stay a while. Maybe have a few beers with friends.

When the helicopter landed, Cleland jumped out, followed by the two soldiers. They ducked beneath the rotors and turned to watch the liftoff. Cleland reached down to pick up the grenade he believed had popped off his flak jacket. The blast slammed him backward, shredding both his legs and one arm. He was 25 years old...
David Lloyd was a gung-ho, 19-year-old enlisted Marine, son of a Baltimore ship worker, who went to Vietnam because he "wanted to kill Communists."

On April 8, 1968, he was in a mortar pit on a hill near Khe Sanh when he heard an explosion. Shrapnel bounced off his flak jacket. He ran to the injured officer, a man named Max Cleland. 'Hold on there, captain,' Lloyd told Cleland. 'The chopper will be here in a minute.'

Lloyd took off his web belt and tied it around one of Cleland's shredded legs. When the medics arrived, he left to help another injured soldier — one of the two who had gotten off a helicopter with Cleland.

That soldier was crying. 'It was mine,' he said, 'it was my grenade.'
According to Lloyd, the private had failed to take the extra precaution that experienced soldiers did when they grabbed M-26 grenades from the ammo box: bend the pins, or tape them in place, so they couldn't accidentally dislodge. This soldier had a flak jacket full of grenades with treacherously straight pins, Lloyd says. "He was a walking death trap."[4]

Due to the severity of his injuries, doctors amputated both his legs above the knee and his right forearm.[5]

Georgia State Government
Cleland served from 1971 to 1975 in the Georgia Senate, and became an advocate for affairs relating to veterans. He was the administrator of the United States Veterans Administration under President Jimmy Carter, a fellow Georgian, from 1977 to 1981. He then served 14 years as Secretary of State of Georgia from 1982 to 1996, working closely with his future Senate colleague, Zell Miller.

According to an interview featurette with Jon Voight on the DVD of Coming Home (1978), Cleland also served during this time as a consultant on the Academy Award-winning drama set in a VA hospital in 1968.

U.S. Senate
Cleland ran for and was elected to the United States Senate in 1996. The Democratic nomination became available because of the retirement of Sam Nunn.

In 2002, Cleland was defeated in his bid for a second Senate term by Representative Saxby Chambliss. Voters were perhaps influenced by Chambliss ads that featured Cleland's likeness on the same screen as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, ads that Cleland's supporters claim questioned his commitment to homeland security.[6] (The ads were removed after protest from some prominent politicians including John McCain.)

As with all other illnesses, there are different levels of PTSD. They do not all have the same fate even though they all suffer. If you look at a group of people with diabetes, you will find some who have had to have amputations, some on heavy duty medicine and others keeping it under control with diet and exercise. There are different levels of it just as there are different levels of PTSD. It is not a one size fits all wound.

If McCain has PTSD, which is very possible given his reported tendency to have mood swings and anger problems, it does in no way suddenly reduce him to someone who is not able to function. I would be the last person on the planet to suggest that a veteran with a high score of PTSD would be a good person to have in charge of the nukes, especially if he has a flashback, but we don't know if McCain has PTSD or what level it is.

Some will have a string of jobs and serial marriages. Some will have marriages that last, like our's, which is 23 years and still going. Some will be successful and some will end up homeless. Some will serve society and some will serve prison time. We can't lump them all into one category or another. It depends on their lives, the people in those lives and the depth of the wound. My husband's level is high. While some families break apart with this severity, others stay together. We need to understand all of this to understand them and stop judging them.

Veterans with PTSD are no different than the general population with PTSD as far as their levels of ability and quality of life. Some just need more help than others depending on the depth of the wound. While a lot of veterans with PTSD cannot function and their quality of life suffers, some can live a fairly good life with it. Of course this also depends on their treatment, how soon it begins after trauma hits them and the support they receive from their family and friends.

There have been many reports of successful careers, as well as reports of how therapeutic it is when they work, but this all depends on the people they work with. For some they will be supported when co-workers and associates understand what PTSD is and watch out for them. Others however become targets by obnoxious idiots without a clue what PTSD is. The above thread is just one more reminder of how far we have to do on educating the general public what PTSD is and what it is not.

Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington