Donald Trump will present his first Medal of Honor to veteran from the Vietnam War who risked his life to rescue fellow soldiers.
The White House announced Tuesday that the president will bestow the nation’s highest military award on former Specialist Five James C. McCloughan during a ceremony in late July — nearly five decades after his service. McCloughan, who was 23 years old at the time, is credited with risking his life nine separate times within a 48-hour window to rescue his wounded comrades in Vietnam in May 1969.
“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,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted in his announcement.
After his time as a medic in Vietnam ended, McCloughan returned to Michigan to teach psychology, sociology, and geography and coach football, wrestling, and baseball at South Haven High School. He lives there with his wife and four children.
“I’m not a hero,” McCloughan has said in previous interviews. “I just did my job. I’m not a hero. There’s a bunch of heroes there, a bunch of heroes. You know, any veteran will tell you the real heroes, they’re not here with us.”
McCloughan told the Army Times that he found out on May 25 that he would receive the award.
“‘I have the president of the United States on the other line,'” McCloughan said an Army captain told him. “I said, ‘Can my wife pick up another phone?'”
“This medal is all about love,” he added. “It’s a love story so deep in my soul that’s it’s truly immeasurable.”