Trump To Award First Medal Of Honor To Vietnam War Combat Medic

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade/ Released)

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump will award U.S. Army Spc. 5 James McCloughan the Congressional Medal of Honor Monday for his service during the Vietnam War.

The U.S. Army drafted McCloughlan as combat medic at age 22 in 1968, and he deployed to Vietnam in early 1969. The former soldier is now 71 years old. His award comes after former President Barack Obama signed legislation waiving the time limit for awarding the medal of honor. McCloughan’s medal of honor worthy action came two months into his deployment in a 48-hour fighting period between May 13-15, 1969.

“This is not a James McCloughan award, it’s an award for my men, for Charlie Company,” he told the Detroit Free Press last year upon hearing that Congress had authorized the award.

McCloughan and his squad were sent to rescue a downed helicopter crew that could not be reached from the air. “When the squad reached the perimeter around the crash site, they saw a wounded Soldier lying on the ground nearby, too injured to move. McCloughan ran 100 meters to the Soldier through an open field, ducking and dodging the crossfire of his company and a charging platoon of North Vietnamese Army. Upon reaching the wounded Soldier, McCloughan shouldered him and raced back to the company, saving his fellow Soldier from being captured or killed,” The U.S. Army notes.

Later in the day a large enemy force ambushed McCloughan’s unit, confining him to a trench amid heavy U.S. airstrikes. At this point the Army notes, “With complete disregard for his life and personal safety, McCloughan handed his weapon to a fellow warrior, leaped on the berm of the trench and ran low to the ground toward the ambush and the two U.S. Soldiers. While McCloughan was looking for wounds on the men, a rocket-propelled grenade exploded and pelted him with shrapnel. He pulled the two Soldiers back into the safety of a trench. McCloughan ignored a direct order to stay back and braved an enemy assault, moving into the kill zone on four more occasions to extract wounded comrades.”

The next day McCloughan was wounded twice in another skirmish but continued to work to save the lives of his comrades. Near the end of the battle, “McCloughan, again with complete disregard for his life, went into the crossfire numerous times throughout the battle to extract wounded Soldiers, while also fighting the enemy.”

“McCloughan is credited with saving the lives of ten members of his company,” the U.S. Army stated.

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