An Army medic who served in Vietnam and risked his life to save multiple lives is about to receive the United States’ highest honor from President Donald Trump, according to Fox News.
James McCloughan of Michigan will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for exerting himself “above and beyond the call of duty” during a vicious battle in which he saved 10 American lives. He’s one of the few medics from the Vietnam-War era to receive the honor.
McCloughan was 23 when drafted to fight in Vietnam. As a private first class, he served with his unit who found themselves embroiled in the two-day Battle for Hui Yon Hill. McCloughan voluntarily entered the “kill zone” to rescue injured comrades, suffering shrapnel and small-arms wounds.
The White House, in its announcement last month, said that McCloughan “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.”
McCloughan told the Associated Press last month that the battle was “the worst two days of my life.”
He described the shrapnel wound as “a real bad sting,” and looked down to discover that he was covered in his own blood. He refused to receive medical attention or leave the battle, even though his captain encouraged him to do so. At one point, McCloughan even used a grenade to knock out an enemy RPG position.
“He knew me enough to know that I wasn’t going,” McCloughan said.
After the war, McCloughan settled down in Michigan to teach psychology, sociology and coaching baseball and wrestling at South Haven High School. He retired in 2008 and now lives in South Haven, Michigan at the age of 71.
In 2016, forty-seven years after the battle, Defense Secretary Ash Carter recommended McCloughan for the award, which traditionally is given within five years of an incident. Congress had to pass a bill waiving the time limit. Now that they have, President Trump will bestow him with the honor in a special White House ceremony.
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