A very deserving, brave, and humble man is set to receive a Medal of Honor from President Trump on July 31, 2017.
Former Specialist Five James C. McCloughan, U.S. Army, is now a teacher and coach at South Haven High School in Michigan. However, he was quite the valiant hero during the Vietnam War.
McCloughan’s dream was to be a teacher, and he’d never planned on joining the military. Things changed just after he graduated from Olivet College in June 1968, with a BA in sociology and a teaching certificate. He received a draft letter in the mail and knew what he had to do. The then 23-year-old voluntarily risked his life on nine different occasions, and refused any medic help despite his injuries from shrapnel and small arms fire. Instead, he stayed and helped rescue other American soldiers wounded from enemy fire.
Despite being personally wounded by shrapnel and small-arms fire, McCloughan refused medical evacuation. Instead, he opted to stay with his unit, where he continued to brave enemy fire so that he could rescue, treat and defend his wounded comrades.
While moving the wounded onto medical evacuation helicopters, his platoon leader ordered him to join them. But he said he disobeyed the order, telling the lieutenant, “You’re going to need me.”
The next day, elements of his battalion were getting probed by the North Vietnamese army. His own platoon had stood down and was recovering in the relatively quiet sector of Landing Zone Center, also in the vicinity of Tam Kỳ. McCloughan joined another platoon for a scouting mission. The platoon was ambushed and the other platoon medic was killed, leaving McCloughan as the sole medical specialist in the company.
Through intense battle, McCloughan was wounded a second time by small arms fire and shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade while rendering aid to two Soldiers in an open rice paddy.
After serving in Vietnam, he returned home and spent almost 40 years teaching psychology, sociology, and geography, as well as coaching football, wrestling, and baseball. He was also inducted to the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Michigan High School Football Association Coaches Hall of Fame, Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the Olivet College Athletic Hall of Fame.
McCloughan will receive the Medal of Honor for distinguished actions during 48 hours of close-combat fighting against enemy forces near Don Que, Vietnam, from May 13 to 15, 1969. McCloughan was serving with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 196th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, as a private first class combat medic.
McCloughan currently lives in South Haven, Michigan with his wife Chérie.
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