Army medic “ran into danger”
An Army medic who “ran into danger” to save wounded soldiers during a Vietnam War battle despite his own serious wounds became on Monday the f irst Medal of Honor recipient under President Donald Trump, 48 years after the selfless acts for which James McCloughan is now nationally recognized.
McCloughan 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.
McCloughan said in a brief statement on the White House driveway after the ceremony that it was humbling to receive the medal. Now 71, he pledged 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.”
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 comrades despite his serious wounds from shrapnel from a rocketpropelled grenade.
In announcing the honor, the White House said 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.”
“He ran into danger,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Honor to James McCloughan of South Haven, Mich., on Monday at the White House. McCloughan was honored for heroic acts as a combat medic in the Vietnam War.