WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) nominated Major Nathan Kline, USAF (Ret.) for the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor recognizing citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. Major Kline is an advocate for veterans and servicemembers in the Lehigh Valley.
“Major Kline has worked hard to create a culture of reverence and respect for the sacrifices of our armed forces,” wrote Senator Casey in the nomination letter to President Obama. “His understanding of the stresses of combat, which he knows well from his service during World War II, informs his advocacy and provides Major Kline with a unique perspective on the needs of returning veterans. With his commitment and service, Major Kline is a well qualified candidate for the Presidential Citizens Medal.”
Major Kline founded the Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council (LVMAC), a community service organization that supports veterans and their families, in 2003. The LVMAC advocates for important veteran issues and legislation, in addition to assisting returning veterans in the transition to civilian life and organizing programming for servicemembers and their families.
Major Kline was also instrumental in creating a veterans’ sanctuary in Allentown to help veterans overcome post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and drug and alcohol abuse.
A copy of Senator Casey’s letter is below.
Dear Mr. President:
The purpose of this letter is to nominate Major Nathan Kline USAF-Ret. for the Presidential Citizens Medal, our nation’s second highest civilian honor. Through his support of veterans and their families, Major Kline has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to public service worthy of this high honor.
A veteran of the Second World War, Major Kline participated in some of the European Theater’s heaviest combat including the D-Day Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. Having taken part in these difficult campaigns, he saw firsthand the effects of battle fatigue and combat-related disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder. During the war, Major Kline flew sixty-five missions in a B-26 squadron and was shot down twice behind enemy lines. His valor earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross, nine Air Medals, and four Battle Stars for the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. For his efforts to liberate the people of France, the French Ambassador took the extraordinary act of inducting Major Kline into the Legion of Honour, where he joined such American notables as Toni Morrison and General David Petreaus. Following the end of the war, Major Kline served in the reserves for forty-two years and served as an informant volunteer for the FBI for twenty years.
The bravery Major Kline displayed during World War II and his service in the years that followed are worthy of our admiration and appreciation. However, when these achievements are coupled with Major Kline’s tireless advocacy on behalf of veterans and their families, it becomes clear that his lifetime of service is worthy of the Citizens Medal.
As a member of the Reserve Officers Association in Houston, Texas from 1976 until 1998, Major Kline volunteered to assist veterans with the persistent problems of job placement and healthcare assistance. After relocating to Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley area, Major Kline founded the Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council (LVMAC) and later served as its volunteer President. The LVMAC serves as an advocate for the region’s veterans and servicemembers. As head of this organization, Major Kline has educated the whole community – local businesses, governments, veterans, schools and colleges, hospitals, religious institutions, and concerned individuals – about the responsibility to support veterans and their families.
LVMAC’s contributions are too numerous to list, but some notable examples are worthy of specific mention. For example, LVMAC rallies the Pennsylvania community in support of deployed servicemembers by creating care packages, providing phone cards to units, and organizing homecoming ceremonies. Its scholarship program raises money to support families of deployed members. LVMAC has also created a special program to help veterans find meaningful work following their service. Finally, LVMAC, under Major Kline’s leadership, raises awareness about the sacrifices of veterans with its annual Armed Forces Week celebration and Veterans Awareness Information Program.
Major Kline has served as a liaison between veterans and the community. For instance, in 2008 the Mayor of Allentown appointed Major Kline to the volunteer position of military liaison for the City of Allentown, where he is charged with supporting veterans and servicemembers of all ages. He has also been the community liaison for USAF JR ROTC, where he helps cultivate new generations of airmen.
More recently, Major Kline took action to address the extraordinary toll that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken on the mental health of returning service-members. He became the fundraising chair for a new sixty-bed facility, the “Veterans Sanctuary,” to help treat PTSD, TBI, and drug and alcohol abuse. He also rallied the community around the creation of the facility, which eventually earned the unanimous support of the areas elected officials. I had the privilege of attending the Sanctuary’s opening. The auditorium that hosted the ceremony was filled to capacity with a grateful community. The facility, which also counsels families, has become a model for treating serious mental challenges. The Sanctuary exemplifies Major Kline’s ability to bring the community together in support of America’s heroes.
Major Kline has worked hard to create a culture of reverence and respect for the sacrifices of our armed forces. His innate understanding of the stresses of combat, which he knows well from his service during World War II, informs his advocacy and provides Major Kline with a unique perspective on the needs of returning veterans. With his commitment and service, Major Kline is a well qualified candidate for the Presidential Citizens Medal.
Thank you for your consideration of my nomination.
Robert P. Casey Jr.
United State Senator