Medic who ‘ran into dan­ger’ in Viet­nam earns top honor

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS -

An Army medic who “ran into dan­ger” to save wounded sol­diers dur­ing a Viet­nam War bat­tle de­spite his own se­ri­ous wounds on Mon­day be­came the first Medal of Honor re­cip­i­ent un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, 48 years af­ter the self­less acts.

James McCloughan, 71, mouthed “thank you” as Trump placed the dis­tinc­tive blue rib­bon hold­ing the medal around the neck of the for­mer Army pri­vate first class. As the pres­i­dent and com­man­der in chief shook McCloughan’s hand, Trump said “very proud of you” be­fore he pulled the re­tired sol­dier into an em­brace.

“I know I speak for ev­ery per­son here when I say that we are in awe of your ac­tions and your brav­ery,” Trump said, de­scrib­ing McCloughan’s ac­tions for a rapt au­di­ence that in­cluded nu­mer­ous se­nior White House and ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials. Among them were Defense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis, Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Se­cre- tary David Shulkin and re­tired Marine Gen. John Kelly, sworn in ear­lier Mon­day as the new White House chief of staff.

Drafted into the Army, McCloughan was a 23-year-old pri­vate first class and medic who in 1969 found him­self in the mid­dle of the rag­ing Bat­tle of Nui Yon Hill. McCloughan will­ingly en­tered the “kill zone” to res­cue in­jured com- rades de­spite his se­ri­ous wounds from shrap­nel from a rocket-pro­pelled grenade.

“He ran into dan­ger,” Trump said.

McCloughan, who now lives in South Haven, Michi­gan, told The Associated Press last month that the bat­tle was “the worst two days of my life.”

DOUG MILLS / NEW YORK TIMES

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump awards the Medal of Honor on Mon­day to James McCloughan for hero­ism dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

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