President Donald Trump will be awarding his first Medal of Honor on Monday — and it’s to an incredible hero.
During the Vietnam War, James McCloughan, an Army medic from Michigan risked his life on several occasions over a two-day period to rescue his comrades during the middle of the intense Battle of Hui Yon Hill. Despite suffering multiple gunshot wounds and being hit by shrapnel, he kept going, saving men on the battlefield.
In its announcement last month, 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.”
Now 71 and living in South Haven, Michigan, McCloughan told The Associated Press in an interview last month that the battle was “the worst two days of my life.”
McCloughan described the shrapnel as “a real bad sting” and recalled, “I was tending to two guys and dragging them at the same time into a trench line.” He said he looked down to see himself covered with blood, a wound so bad that it prompted a captain to suggest that he leave the battlefield to seek treatment.
“He knew me enough to know that I wasn’t going,” McCloughan said.
The combat medic stuck around until the battle ended, coming to the aid of his men and fighting the enemy, even knocking out an enemy RPG position with a grenade at one point. In all, the Pentagon credits McCloughan with saving the lives of 10 members of his company.
The Medal of Honor is given to Armed Forces members who distinguish themselves by going above and beyond the call of duty in battle.
“President Donald Trump will be putting that on me for the first time in his experience of doing such a thing,” McCloughan said. “That’s pretty special.”
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