More than 45 years after the selfless act of one brave Vietnam Army medic, he is getting the recognition he deserves.
This Monday, President Donald Trump awarded James McCloughan with the the first Medal of Honor. During the Vietnam War, McCloughan “ran into danger” to save wounded soldiers, even though he had serious wounds himself.
As Trump placed the distinctive blue ribbon holding the medal around the neck of the former Army private, he mouthed “thank you.” When talking about McCloughan’s actions, Trump said he was “very proud” of him, adding:
“I know I speak for every person here when I say that we are in awe of your actions and your bravery.”
McCloughan gave a brief statement and said that it was “humbling” to receive the medal. The 71-year old man promised to do his best to represent the men who fought alongside him “as the caretaker of this symbol of courage and action beyond the call of duty.”
The White House announced last month who will receive the honor. They explained that they chose McCloughan because he “voluntarily risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded and disoriented comrades. He suffered wounds from shrapnel and small arms fire on three separate occasions, but refused medical evacuation to stay with his unit, and continued to brave enemy fire to rescue, treat, and defend wounded Americans.”
When remembering the battlefield, McCloughan said that that battle was the worst two days of his life. Even though he was injured and covered in blood, he continued to tend to wounded soldiers even after his captain said he should leave the battlefield to seek treatment.
After leaving the Army in 1970, McCloughan said he spent the next several decades teaching psychology and sociology and coaching football, baseball and wrestling at South Haven High School, before retiring in 2008. McCloughan said this when he found out about the award:
“President Donald Trump will be putting that on me for the first time in his experience of doing such a thing. That’s pretty special.”
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