With the help of Clark, Upton and Michigan's congressional delegation, the case eventually got the attention of Ash Carter, President Barack Obama's defense secretary, who recommended past year that McCloughan be awarded the Medal of Honor. After his tour was over, he returned to South Haven, where he became a high school teacher and athletics coach. In all, the Pentagon credits McCloughan with saving the lives of 10 members of his company.
"President Donald Trump will be putting that on me for the first time in his experience of doing such a thing", Mr McCloughan said.
Lt. Randall J. Clark, McCloughan's onetime platoon leader, had inquired after the battle about awarding the medic the Distinguished Service Cross, but he was given a Bronze Star for valor instead.
The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while: engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Michigan's senators had to pass legislation to waive the requirement. His Vietnam tour was from March 1969 to March 1970.
James McCloughan in 1968 at basic training.
The former Army private first class mouthed "thank you" as Mr Trump placed the distinctive blue ribbon holding the medal around his neck. They came under immediate attack, and two US helicopters were shot down.
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By late afternoon, he again sprinted forward, weaponless, to pull two more stranded men back to a trench (likely dug by French troops in the 1950s). McCloughan looked down and saw he was covered with blood.
Throughout the two days of battle, McCloughan repeatedly charged into the line of fire to rescue his fallen comrades who were unable to move, Trump said.
In those 48 hours, McCloughan rescued 10 American soldiers and tended to countless others, Trump said, adding that of the 89 in the company, their strength had dwindled to 32 by the end of the fighting. He collapsed from dehydration after loading medevac helicopters.
It was decided that McCloughan would be the first recipient of the medal from President Trump back in June. "Get in. Get in", Trump said, conveying the lieutenant's orders.
"I told my father, who is also my best friend, and I told my uncle Jack what had happened, and then I put it aside - done with", he admitted. "Jim did not hesitate", the president said.