Members of IRCC at presentation of Resolution

Major General John Cleland Posthumously Honored

Pineda flyover bridge to be named for Indian River Colony Club resident

 

(VIERA, FL) June 14, 2018 – One of the military heroes of Indian River Colony Club in Viera was posthumously honored at the May 22 meeting of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, with a Resolution naming the soon-to-be constructed bridge over the Florida East Coast railroad on the Pineda Causeway as the Major General John Cleland Memorial Bridge. General Cleland passed away in 2017 at the age of 92 and was a resident of Indian River Colony Club since 2001. Major General John R. D. Cleland retired from the United States Army in 1980, after thirty-seven years of active service.  He was a Master Parachutist and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge in three wars.  His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Silver Star Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart Medal with oak leaf cluster.  General Cleland was a member of the US Army Infantry Hall of Fame and served as the Honorary Colonel of his Korean War Regiment. His widow, Clara Cleland still resides in the 55+ neighborhood of predominantly military retirees.  In part, the Resolution reads: “The Board of County Commissioners and a grateful community would like to honor and recognize him in perpetuity for his lifetime of service to our county and our country. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, does hereby name the soon-to-be-constructed bridge over the FEC railroad on Pineda Causeway the “Major General John Cleland Memorial Bridge” Let this serve as a reminder to all of the life of this great public servant.”  Viera’s Indian River Colony Club is  known as “The Place Patriots Call Home.” For more information, call 321-255-6000 or visit www.IndianRiverColonyclub.com.

 

District 4 Commissioner, Curt Smith proposed the resolution to the Board of County Commissioners.  Both IRCC and the location of the flyover bridge are in District 4.  But it was Melbourne City Council Member and Army veteran, Tim Thomas, who initially urged Smith to honor General Cleland.

 

“When I started the Army JROTC program at Viera High School, General Cleland contacted me and immediately became a supporter of our young program,” said Thomas.  “Our Cadets were just in awe of General Cleland and his military accomplishments in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Once he passed, I felt strongly that because of his distinguished service to our country and community, we needed to do something to honor him.”

 

Construction of the flyover bridge west of U.S. Hwy 1 is expected to take 18 months, after which a memorial plaque will be installed. The long-planned flyover bridge will allow cars to traverse the Pineda Causeway without stopping for trains.  The Pineda Causeway connects the barrier island to the north Melbourne mainland and is a designated hurricane evacuation route.

 

Viera’s very first neighborhood, Indian River Colony Club is known as “The Place Patriots Call Home.”  A haven for military retirees, the par-72 private golf course community has a patriotic culture and country club amenities for active adults aged 55 and over. For more information about Indian River Colony Club, call 321-255-6000 or visit their website at www.IndianRiverColonyClub.com.

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PHOTO 1 attached (photo  by timothy pishdad):  Clara Cleland is surrounded by friends and supporters from Indian River Colony Club when presented with the Resolution naming the Pineda flyover bridge for her late husband, Major General John Cleland. For more information, call 321-255-6000.

 

PHOTO 2 attached (photo  by timothy pishdad):  Clara Cleland (center) and granddaughter Amanda Bolte accept the framed Resolution honoring Major General John Cleland from District 4 Comissioner, Curt Smith.

 Resolution presentation

PHOTO 3 attached (photo courtesy of clara cleland):  Major General John R.D. Cleland

 Cleland Uniform

RESOLUTION 2018 – WHEREAS, Major General John Cleland retired from the United States Army in 1980 after thirty-seven years of active service. He enlisted at age seventeen and after service as an enlisted man, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry from the Officer Candidate School; and WHEREAS, he served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, commanding all levels of Infantry units. Major General Cleland served on the Army General Staff and the Joint Staff during peace and war, and spent thirteen years overseas, six of which were in combat theater; and WHEREAS, his decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal; the Silver Star Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart Medal; and he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge in all three wars, and is a member of the US Army Infantry Hall of Fame; and WHEREAS, since moving to Florida in 1983, Major General Cleland made tremendous contributions to the local community and to the State of Florida by serving both civic and military organizations; in addition, he found time to participate as a leader in his homeowners association, church, as a speaker at patriotic events and as a strong voice for veterans. WHEREAS, on November 12, 2013, Retired Major General Cleland was inducted into the inaugural class of the Florida Veteran’s Hall of Fame, whose focus is on the inductee’s post-military contributions to the state through civic, business, public service or other pursuits. WHEREAS, on October 25, 2017, at the age of 92, this true American hero passed away. The Board of County Commissioners and a grateful community would like to honor and recognize him in perpetuity for his lifetime of service to our county and our country. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, does hereby name the soon-to-be-constructed bridge over the FEC railroad on Pineda Causeway the “Major General John Cleland Memorial Bridge” Let this serve as a reminder to all of the life of this great public servant. DONE, ORDERED AND ADOPTED in regular session, this 22nd day of May, 2018.

 

Statement by Melbourne City Council Member, District 1, Tim Thomas: Upon my 2010 retirement from active duty service (U.S. Army) as a Lieutenant Colonel, I was asked by Viera High School to start up an Army JROTC program.  Once the high school made the announcement, General Cleland contacted me and immediately became a supporter of our young program.  In fact, General Cleland was the first speaker we had at our very first JROTC Military Ball in Jan 2011.  He and his wife Clara attended and our Cadets were just in awe of General Cleland and his military accomplishments, which spanned three major wars in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  Additionally, he was instrumental in helping me and Viera High School history teacher Matt Susin mobilize veterans statewide to get the “All American Flag Act” passed by the Florida State Legislature in September 2015.  The All American Flag Act mandates all U.S. or state flags bought by state, county or city agencies are to be made in the United States.  General Cleland was always a great mentor to me and many others.  Once he passed, I felt strongly that because of his distinguished service to our country and community, veterans locally needed to do something to honor him.  I contacted Curt Smith and my initial thought was to have the Pineda Causeway renamed in his honor. Curt’s staff checked with the Florida Department of Transportation on the Pineda renaming; because the road belonged to FDOT, the renaming of Pineda was rejected.  However, Curt informed me of a new flyover bridge planned for the Pineda, that would belong to Brevard County and could be named in General Cleland’s honor.  I was ecstatic and the rest is history.

 

ABOUT MAJOR GENERAL CLELAND –Major General John R. D. Cleland retired from the United States Army in 1980, after thirty-seven years of active service.  He enlisted at the age of seventeen and, after service as an enlisted man, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry from the Infantry Officer Candidate School.  He has commanded all levels of Infantry units from the Rifle Squad to the Mechanized Infantry Division.  He fought as a Parachute Infantry unit commander in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  He has been a commander, staff officer, service school instructor, State Department Officer, overseas Military Advisory Group Chief and Director of US Army Security Assistance during his military service.  General Cleland served on the Army General staff and the Joint Staff during peace and war.  He spent thirteen years overseas, six years of which were in a combat theater.

 

General Cleland was a Master Parachutist and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge in three wars.  His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Silver Star Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart Medal with oak leaf cluster.  General Cleland was a member of the US Army Infantry Hall of Fame and served as the Honorary Colonel of his Korean War Regiment.

 

General Cleland achieved a Bachelor of General Education degree from Omaha University and a Master of Science degree in Foreign Relations from George Washington University.  He also graduated from the US Army War College.  He completed the Harvard University Program for Senior Managers in Government and was a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society in History.

 

Upon retiring from the US Army, General Cleland worked as a Defense Analyst and a consultant to private industry for twenty years.  He was a resident of Melbourne, Florida.  General Cleland was active in the civilian community, serving on the boards of a number of national and local institutions.  He also served as Commodore of the Eau Gallie Yacht Club and Senior Warden of Holy Apostles Episcopal Church.

 

General Cleland was married to the former Clara Webster Kehoe of Bealeton, Virginia.  They first met during the Korean War when the then Captain Cleland was wounded and evacuated to the 1st Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H.) in Chechon, Korea, where 1st Lieutenant Clara Kehoe was the Receiving Ward Nurse.  They met again eight months later when Lieutenant Kehoe was assigned to Ward 1 at Walter Reed Army Hospital where Captain Cleland was a patient.  The couple were married in 1952 and had five children. They moved to Indian River Colony Club in 2001.

 

About Indian River Colony Club –  Viera’s very first neighborhood, Indian River Colony Club was originally conceived as a retirement destination for military retirees. IRCC began to take shape in 1986, its vision to create a private country club-like environment for members.  Membership has now expanded to include non-military personnel who want the energetic, patriotic lifestyle cultivated by three decades of members. Still predominantly a haven for military veterans, IRCC maintains a culture centered on service to others. IRCC is a gated golf course community of nearly 800 homes on 453 acres in Viera, owned entirely by its membership. “The Place Patriots Call Home” enjoys 24-hour gated security, a generous maintenance package and a full complement of newly renovated and 100% debt-free country club amenities for active adults aged 55 and over, including an 18-hole, par-72 private golf course.  The patriotic neighborhood was named one of the 2018 Top 20 Golf Communities in North America by Golf Course Home Network. For more information about Indian River Colony Club, call 321-255-6000 or visit their website at www.IndianRiverColonyClub.com.