Alexandria Echo Press
It’s now official – the Alexandria Veterans Affair clinic has a new name.
President Barack Obama signed into law U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s bill naming the facility after veteran Max Beilke.
The clinic is now the Max J. Beilke Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic.
“Max Beilke honorably and impressively served his country and his state of Minnesota,” Klobuchar said. “It is only fitting that a man who spent his life defending veterans’ rights would have his name attached to an outpatient clinic for veterans.”
Beilke, a 1950 Alexandria High School graduate, made his mark in history for both a last and a first.
On March 29, 1973, he was the last official U.S. combat soldier to leave Vietnam.
Twenty-eight years later, on September 11, 2001, he was among the first to be killed when hijackers rammed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
The plane crashed into a window in the office where he had just attended a meeting to advocate for military retirees and veterans.
The tragic end to Beilke’s life terminated a decorated and dedicated career of service to the U.S. Army and to his fellow veterans. He served 22 years active duty in the U.S. Army in Germany, Korea and Vietnam.
After his retirement he served as deputy chief of the Army’s Retirement Services, and was an active member of the Army Chief of Staff Retiree Council.
Beilke was awarded the Defense of Freedom medal and the Meritorious Civilian Service Award. He was buried December 11, 2001 at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.