Trump Presents Medal of Honor to Vietnam Hero James McCloughan

Jerome Frank
August 1, 2017

One well-wisher at the Medal of Honor ceremony on Monday was Congressman Fred Upton, who spoke with WSJM. He was involved in an air assault with 89 other men in his unit near Tam Ky and Nui Yon Hill on May 13, 1969.

"Then-Private First Class James McCloughan is an American hero - there is no doubt about that", Upton said in a press release after hearing the southwest MI man would get the award.

Over the next 24 hours without food, water or rest, McCloughan fired at enemy soldiers, suffered a bullet wound to his arm, and continued to race into gunfire to save more and more lives, the president said.

Afterwards, he told reporters he was "humbled" by the experience.

McCloughan is credited with saving the lives of members of his platoon almost 50 years ago in the Battle of Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam. He says he is grateful for the medal that now lays around his neck, but McCloughan says knowing 10 men are alive because of him is the most rewarding of all.

Later, McCloughan's platoon sustained heavy casualties when they were ambushed by a larger North Vietnamese force while scouting a nearby hill. The ceremony was attended by U.S. Sen. Among them were Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, sworn in earlier Monday as the new White House chief of staff. The former soldier offered a smile as he looked toward a row in the crowd where 10 of the men with whom he served in that 1969 battle stood clapping.

"He said, 'You're going to need me here, '" Trump said.

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"That bad wound didn't stop Jim from pulling those two men to safety", Trump said.

Lt. Randall J. Clark, McCloughan's onetime platoon leader, had inquired after the battle about awarding the medic the Distinguished Service Cross, but he was given a Bronze Star for valor instead. McCloughan was discharged with the rank of Specialist (SP5).

McCloughan has already received numerous awards, including two Purple Hearts but didn't meet the requirements for a Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor generally must be awarded within five years of the actions that justify it. By the time it did so, the Obama administration had run out of time to invite McCloughan to the White House. There was a problem, however: The medal needs to be awarded within five years of the recipient's heroic actions.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, who worked on getting the measure into law, met McCloughan Friday in her office.

When he ran into the crossfire, McCloughan said he wasn't thinking of losing his own life.

"He really is someone who has lived his values his whole life and is extremely deserving of today's award".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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