Max Cleland to head American Battle Monuments Commission

A source close to the situation tells Fox that President Obama will name former Democratic Sen. Max Cleland as head of the American Battle Monuments Commission. During the transition, Cleland had been under consideration for a senior post within the Department of Veterans Affairs. He lost out in favor of current VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and former U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is the VA's chief spokeswoman. Cleland served as administrator of the VA from 1977-1981 under President Carter.

Cleland, 66, lost both legs and one arm in a grenade accident in Vietnam in April, 1968, during the battle of Khe Sahn. He was later awarded a Silver Star and Bronze Star.

Cleland served in the Senate from 1997 to 2003, losing his 2002 bid for re-election to Republican Saxby Chambliss in a campaign that featured images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and criticizing Cleland for failing to vote rapidly enough to create a department of homeland security.

About the American Battle Monuments Commission

Founded in 1923, the commission manages oversees cemeteries and memorials for US war dead. Here are details from the commission's website:

* The American Battle Monuments Commission, established by the Congress in 1923, is an agency of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

The Commission-guardian of America's overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials-honors the service, achievements and sacrifice of United States Armed Forces.

The Commission's commemorative mission includes:
Designing, constructing, operating and maintaining permanent American cemeteries in foreign countries.

Establishing and maintaining U.S. military memorials, monuments and markers where American armed forces have served overseas since April 6, 1917, and within the U.S. when directed by public law.

Controlling the design and construction of permanent U.S. military monuments and markers by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private, and encouraging their maintenance.
* The Commission administers, operates, and maintains 24 permanent American burial grounds on foreign soil. Presently there are 124,909 U.S. war dead interred at these cemeteries, 30,921 of World War I, 93,238 of World War II and 750 of the Mexican War. Additionally 6,177 American veterans and others are interred in the Mexico City and Corozal American Cemeteries.