Trump Presents Medal of Honor to Vietnam Hero James McCloughan

James McCloughan

President Donald Trump bestows the nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, to retired Army medic James McCloughan during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Monday, July 31, 2017, in Washington.

Back in 1969, at the age of 23, McCloughan served in Vietnam, where he repeatedly risked his life to save wounded comrades. "And with God as your witness, we thank you for what you did for all of us".

"Today, we pay tribute to a veteran who went above and beyond the call of duty to protect our comrades, our country, and our freedom", Trump said.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, who represents Michigan's sixth congressional district, advocated alongside Michigan Sens. "As Jim says, 'I would have rather died on the battlefield than known that men died because they did not have a medic'".

McCloughlon ignored his commander's orders to stand back, determined to rescue the soldiers.

Afterwards, he told reporters he was "humbled" by the experience.

In attendance were 10 of McCloughan's former fellow soldiers, five of whom he rescued in a bloody 48-hour stretch during the Battle of Hui Yon Hill in March 1969.

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It was Trump's first time presenting the Medal of Honor as president.

Later, McCloughan's platoon sustained heavy casualties when they were ambushed by a larger North Vietnamese force while scouting a nearby hill. "And he would not flinch in the face of death and definite danger".

"He knew me enough to know that I wasn't going", McCloughan said. "You don't try to do it as good as anybody else, just the best you can do", said McCloughan.

The Medal of Honor generally must be awarded within five years of the actions that justify it.

In all. there are now 79 living Medal of Honor recipients in the USA and President Trump says McCloughan's devotion to duty earned him this honor to stand among legends. However, a bill passed under the Obama administration has since waived this standard. In the audience were eight previous Medal of Honor recipients.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, who worked on getting the measure into law, met McCloughan Friday in her office. He was later inducted into numerous state Halls of Fame, including the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Olivet College Athletic Hall of Fame. At last, that afternoon, he helped gather the dead and wounded so the unit could be evacuated.

McCloughan left the Army in 1970, and for the next four decades he taught psychology and sociology and coached football, baseball and wrestling at South Haven High School before retiring in 2008.

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