Vietnam U.S. Army Veteran Spc. 5 James C. McCloughan of South Haven, Michigan will be the first Medal of Honor recipient decorated by President Donald Trump.
A combat medic in the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, McCloughan distinguished himself over the course of a three-day battle with near Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam in May 1969. As detailed in the Congressional Record, though wounded himself early in the battle, McCloughan refused to be medevacked out of the fighting and ran through enemy fire on no less than nine occasions to help recover wounded members of his company.
As detailed by the Army, in the final stages of the battle, McCloughan not only tended the wounded and concentrated on saving lives but also helped his embattled unit — a force of 89 facing an estimated 700 Viet Cong — fight, on one occasion knocking out an RPG position with a grenade.
Awarded the Bronze Star in 1970, members of McCloughan’s unit petitioned to have his actions reevaluated in 2015, which led to the Medal of Honor being authorized last year.
The life-long Wolverine returned to his hometown and taught sociology and psychology at South Haven High School as well as coached baseball and football, recently retiring after four decades of service to his community.
He will receive the nation’s highest military honor on July 31 at the White House, almost 50 years after his actions.
“I feel honored to accept this for the 89 men who fought that battle,” he says in the below AP interview. “I was doing my job though. My father told me at a very young age, if you are given a job, don’t do it halfway.”