President Trump is a strong supporter of our military. He always has been even as a candidate. He has also been a strong advocate for our veterans.
U.S. veterans broadly supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election, have remained positive about the job he is doing as president. In April, 54% of those who have served in the military approved of his job performance. according to the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.
Today, President Trump showed some of his support to a special veteran, as he presented the first Medal of Honor of his administration to James McCloughan. James McCloughan is a Vietnam War hero from Michigan who is credited with saving the lives of 10 men.
The 71-year-old McCloughan, who lives in South Haven, Michigan, was honored for his actions on May 13-15, 1969 near Tam Kỳ and Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam. As his Army bio notes, McCloughan saved the lives of 10 men during a 48-hour stretch of heavy combat while suffering injuries himself. ON the first day of the battle, he saved six fellow soldiers alone, even after suffering a shrapnel wound from a rocket-propelled grenade.
Although he was bleeding extensively, McCloughan refused to be evacuated. On the second day, his company lost their only other medic and he was injured again while saving more men.
“I had refused the day before, by the way, to get on a helicopter,” McCloughan recently told WBUR. “I refused to get on because I knew that they were gonna need me. I got close enough to hell to see, like, lava coming down off that of that hill from a distance, that’s how many people were on that hill. And, so now I knew when Dan [Shea] had been killed that now I had made the right decision to stay because now I was the only medic left to do that job.”
McCloughan was drafted at age 22 in 1968 and served in Vietnam until March 1970. He was drafted and ordered to report to basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was later sent to Fort Sam Houston, Texas for advanced individual training, where he learned to serve as a medic. After he completed training, he was told he’d be sent to Vietnam. He served in the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division.
He credits his father for his endurance during battle,
“Well, my father had a factor in this and athletics had a factor in this,” McCloughan told WBUR when asked about his decision to go back to save more men, despite his own injuries. “My father told me if I had a job to do, don’t do it halfway, and make sure you do it until the end, until it’s completed.”
McCloughan continued, “The other factor would be the athletics where, not only was it great that I was in good physical shape, but the mental discipline that I learned from those sports, I was allowed to focus and knew how to focus on what I had to do. Was I scared? Sure, I mean, I’m in a situation where I could die at any moment. But you had to keep your mind on what you were doing and evaluate the situation, how the wounds were, and then treat them and get them to safety as soon as possible.”
“There’s a lot of people I couldn’t save,” he told WOOD-TV. “I’m not a hero. 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.”
After his tour was over, he returned to South Haven, where he became a high school teacher and athletics coach.
He is married to Chérie McCloughan and has two sons, Jamie and Matt, and a daughter, Kami. He also has a stepdaughter, Kara.
Now retired, he is a member of the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Michigan School Coaches Hall of Fame and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. His other military decorations include two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.
The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest military honor for action against an enemy force and has been presented since 1861. As CNN notes, President Barack Obama presented 52 Medals of Honor during his administration.
“This medal is all about love,” McCloughan told the Army Times. “It’s a love story so deep in my soul that’s it’s truly immeasurable.”
Here’s McCloughan reflecting on his first day in Vietnam:
McCloughan is one of 72 living Medal of Honor recipients. He is the 51st living Medal of Honor recipient for service in the Vietnam War.
Most Medal of Honor recipients are given their awards posthumously. Of the 248 Medals of Honor given for service in Vietnam before McCloughan received his, 156 of them were given posthumously.
“There is nobody I can think of who’s more honorable, more deserving of this award than Doc,” Bill Arnold, who served with McCloughan told NPR.
‘Doc’ McCloughan is a soldier who helped to save the lives of others in an ugly war. A soldier who certainly deserved the Medal of Honor. As Americans, we can be grateful for his service to our country. God Bless McCloughan and God Bless all those who serve and have served to protect our freedom.