President Trump will present his first Medal of Honor to a Vietnam hero on Monday.
Former Specialist Five James C. McCloughan risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded comrades while serving as a medic in Vietnam.
According to a statement from the White House, McCloughan "suffered wounds from shrapnel and small arms fire on three separate occasions, but refused medical evacuation to stay with his unit, and continued to brave enemy fire to rescue, treat, and defend wounded Americans."
McCloughan spent his childhood in Bangor, Michigan, where his parents moved to take over a family farm. It was there that he found his passion for sports and music. The consummate athlete, McCloughan was a four-sport varsity athlete at Bangor High School and went on to wrestle, play football and baseball at Olivet College. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a teaching certificate in 1968, McCloughan accepted a teaching and coaching position with South Haven Public Schools in Michigan. Three months later, McCloughan was drafted into the Army at the age of 22.
McCloughan reported to basic training in September 1968 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. His training in athletics and coaching gave him a foundational knowledge of sports medicine, and his leaders took notice. Two months after arriving at basic training, he was assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to complete advanced training as a medical specialist. On his last day of training, McCloughan received deployment orders to Vietnam. He was assigned as a combat medic with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. His Vietnam tour was from March 1969 to March 1970.
Following his service in Vietnam, McCloughan returned to his teaching and coaching profession. In 1972, he earned a Master of Arts in counseling and psychology from Western Michigan University.
McCloughan taught sociology and psychology at South Haven High School until his retirement in 2008 earning him the Michigan Education Associations’ 40 years of Service Award. He was also the recipient of the Wolverine Conference Distinguished Service Award for 38 years of coaching football and baseball in addition to 22 years of coaching wrestling. He was inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1993, Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame 2008. McCloughan was also a Michigan High School Athletic Association wrestling official for 25 years.
McCloughan’s Army awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, the Army Valorous Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palms and one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Medical Badge, and the M16 Expert Rifle Badge.
He currently lives in South Haven, Michigan with his wife Chérie.
BY TANAE HOWARD
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It's a discovery that details years of dedication to our country.
A man found a shadow box full of war medals including a Purple Heart. Now, he wants to get the heroes medals back to where they belong.
"I'd just gotten my dad's keys from my sister. I went over to get the lawnmower out of the garage as I was getting the gas can, I saw the medals sitting back there behind some stuff," Steven Backus said.
Before Steven's father died in a crash two weeks ago, he told his son about a cool discovery he stumbled across.
"Remembered that he found them when he was scrapping one day. Someone threw them out in the trash. Don't know how they got there. Don't know if they were stolen or what or someone just didn't care about someone else's property and threw it out," Backus said.
A shadow box containing a Purple Heart, Korean War medals, and a combat infantrymen badge. The Purple Heart has the name James T. Smith on the back.
"You know this means the world to someone right here because they did all that time serving their country," Backus said.
Steven and his wife contacted us as soon as they found the medals hoping more exposure would help them track down this hero or his family. Their internet searches didn't get them very far. The hope is that these memories, this display of sacrifice and honor will be returned to the smith family.
"I know the person that had these cherished them more than likely and I'm sure they're missing them. If they're not around hopefully their family wants them."
Steven and his wife will take the medals to the Indiana War Museum if the owners don’t come forward soon.
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About Boys Nation
Two representatives from each of the 49 Boys States represent their state at Boys Nation in Washington, where the young leaders receive an education on the structure and function of federal government.
The first Boys Nation – then called Boys Forum of National Government – convened at American University in Washington in August 1946. The 1946 American Legion National Convention adopted the event as an official youth activity. Three years later, it became American Legion Boys Nation.
At the event, each delegate acts as a senator from his Boys State. The young lawmakers caucus at the beginning of the session, then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates.
Senators learn the proper method of handling bills, according to U.S. Senate rules. Participation in the political process is emphasized throughout the week, including organization of party conventions and nominating and electing a president and vice president.
The week of government training also includes lectures, forums and visits to federal agencies, national shrines, institutions, memorials and historical sites. On Capitol Hill, Boys Nation senators meet with elected officials from their home states.
Since Boys Nation began in 1946, a number of its graduates have been elected to public office, including presidents, congressmen, state governors and state legislators. Many others have been inspired to work for the campaigns of individuals seeking public office.
By NICHOLAS FANDOS
WASHINGTON — Congressional lawmakers struggled on Monday to reach an agreement to prop up a popular multibillion-dollar health care program that allows veterans to see a private doctor at government expense.
This was supposed to be a relatively easy task, meant to buy lawmakers time as they debated the future of the program. As recently as last week, Republican leaders were considering using a bill temporarily funding the Veterans Choice Program as a vehicle to raise the debt ceiling, a perennially bitter pill for Republicans.
Instead, House Republicans put forward a plan that would pay for the visits by diverting funds from elsewhere in the department and would not allocate additional funds for in-house care. In doing so, they galvanized enough opposition among Democrats and a raft of veterans groups fearful of creeping privatization that the bill unexpectedly failed to clear the necessary threshold on the House floor.
The defeat left House leaders scrambling for an alternative late Monday, with only a handful of legislative days left before the chamber is scheduled to begin its extended summer recess. Money for the Veterans Choice Program is expected to run out early next month.
Lawmakers in the Senate, where legislation would need to pick up some Democratic support to come to a vote, never appeared likely to take up the House measure. Behind the scenes, leaders of the veterans committees in both chambers had opened negotiations to find a compromise that could pass muster among their members, as well as among the veterans groups. (The Senate has said it will stick around for the first two weeks of August.)
Created in the aftermath of a 2014 scandal over the manipulation of patient wait times at Veterans Affairs Department facilities, the Choice program was intended to give veterans facing long wait times for care an option to see private doctors in their communities. It came with additional time and money for the department to retool. Three years later, both parties and most veterans groups are in agreement that the program has done some good but needs major repairs.
The present funding crisis largely stems from the program’s rapid growth in popularity and miscalculations by the department of how quickly the program would run out of money.
As patient visits through the program have increased — they were up more than 30 percent in the first quarter of the 2017 fiscal year — resources have been depleted more quickly than expected, catching lawmakers off guard.
The veterans groups opposing the House legislation — including Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veterans of America — wield considerable influence in Washington, and their opposition is taken seriously on Capitol Hill.
Starting later this year, all honorably discharged veterans, no matter their branch of service, will be eligible to shop tax-free online at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service with the same discounts they enjoyed on base while in the military. It’s the latest way in which the organization is trying to keep its customers as the armed forces shrink and airmen and soldiers buy more for delivery.
Adding 13 million potential new customers will give extra ammunition to the group that runs the stores on U.S. Army and Air Force bases worldwide as it fights Amazon and other retailers for veterans’ online shopping dollars.
Since hiring its first civilian CEO five years ago, the Exchange has upgraded the brands at base stores to include items like Disney toys, Michael Kors fashions and other top names. Like private stores, it’s also imposed tighter cost controls, reduced the number of employees and improved people’s experience on the website.
“The intent is to really beat Amazon at their game because we have locations literally on the installations,” said CEO Tom Shull. “We’re leaning toward not just ship-from-store but pick-up-from-store and eventually deliver-from-store.”
The Exchange is adding shipping centers within its stores to allow it to send products directly from those locations more cheaply and quickly. Twenty-six stores now ship orders, and that will expand to 55 by the end of the year.
Within the next three years, Shull said the goal is to deliver something on base within two hours of when it is ordered. That’s possible partly because the Exchanges are already on base, cleared by security.
The Exchange delivers most orders on the second day now. Shull said shipping from stores will make a big difference in regions around bases, which are often in more rural areas.
In this May 24, 2017, photo, members of the military and civilians with shopping privileges walk among stores at the Exchange, at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Starting in fall 2017, all honorably discharged veterans will be eligible to shop tax-free online at the Exchange with the same discounts they enjoyed at stores on base while they were in the military. It's the latest way in which the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is trying to keep its customers as the armed forces shrink and airmen and soldiers buy more for delivery. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
By Samm Quinn
GREENFIELD – By the time supporters back home learned John Modglin had been critically injured in the Vietnam war, the young marine was already dead.
Private First Class Modglin was 18 when he died July 18, 1967, aboard the hospital ship, USS Repose, from an injury he received while guarding a naval base in Vietnam.
Two days later, the Daily Reporter printed a story stating the young man’s family had learned he’d been seriously hurt in the war. There were no other details released at the time, and the family doesn’t dwell on them now. It wasn’t until July 22, 1967, that the county learned Modglin hadn’t survived.
This week, dozens of veterans and citizens joined to remember the county’s first Vietnam casualty, 50 years after he took his final breath. They’ll come together 11 more times in the next three years to honor the other county servicemen who gave their lives to the war, which ended in 1975.
The local American Legion post and several other veterans organizations are teaming up to host the services at the Hancock County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where each casualty’s name is listed, along State Road 9.
More than 58,000 men and women were killed in battle between February 1961, when the United States’ military involvement in the war began, and May 1975, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Among them were 12 Hancock County natives, said American Legion Post 119 commander Kurt Vetters.
As the 50th anniversary of each of their deaths passes, Hancock County will stop to remember them, holding memorial services for each to honor what they gave to protect their loved ones back home, Vetters said.
Tuesday’s ceremony was short but meaningful, a mirror of Modglin’s life, organizers said.
Modglin, who grew up in Greenfield and attended Greenfield schools, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in November 1966, just a few months before his 18th birthday. After completing basic training in San Diego, he arrived in Vietnam in spring 1967, writing to his mother to report it was “terribly hot,” newspaper clippings show. Just a few months later, Modglin was dead.
The 99th Department of Indiana's annual Convention was held July 13th through the 15th in Indianapolis. If you were unable to attend, we have the next best thing. Below are Photos and videos taken at the 3 general sessions held at the convention.
First General Session (Friday July 14, 2017)
Highlights of the 1st General session include:
Second General Session (Saturday July 15, 2017)
Highlights of the 2nd General session include:
Third General Session (Saturday July 15, 2017)
Highlights of the 3rd General session include:
Thank you to everyone who helped make the American Legion Department of Indiana's 99 Annual Department Convention a big Success.
by Amy Bushat (Military.com)
A proposal that would expand the post-9/11 GI Bill to more current-era veterans while lifting a 15-year use-it-or-lose-it cap for future troops is headed to the House of Representatives for a vote.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee, headed by Rep. Phil Roe, a doctor and Republican from Tennessee, on Wednesday unanimously approved the bill, known as the "Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017," by voice vote.
The legislation, which combines 18 pieces of legislation and includes more than 25 changes to the current benefit, now heads to the full House of Representatives for debate and vote. A vote on the measure hasn't been scheduled, but is expected to take place later this month. The Senate is also expected to introduce a similar measure this week.
During Wednesday's hearing of the committee to amend, or markup, the legislation, lawmakers included a provision that would expand restitution for students attending schools that shuttered during their studies.
A previous version of the bill called for restoring only a portion of benefits to those who attended a for-profit school that went out of business.
In 2015 Corinthian Colleges, a large for-profit school with campuses nationwide shuttered, leaving thousands of students with college credits that couldn't be transferred. In 2016, ITT Technical Institute followed suit. Those closures left users without the benefit -- and a degree or transferable credits.
The earlier bill would have allowed the user to recoup the benefit during the month the school closed. Critics said other categories of federally funded students, such as Pell Grant users, were restored their full benefit spent at the closed schools, allowing them to pursue a degree program elsewhere.
Although the bill doesn't mention Corinthian or ITT Tech, the change fully restores the benefit to GI Bill students attending schools that have gone out of business since 2015. Users whose schools go out of business after Aug. 1 of this year will have only one month restored, but will be given up to four months of additional housing allowance as a "bridge payment," lawmakers said.
"My amendment ... would ensure that we are fully covering the student affected by the closures of Corinthian and ITT Tech, by requiring that any veterans who attended these schools would be able to have any credits that were not transferable to another school fully restored for GI eligibility," said Roe, the committee's chairman.
The bill also makes a series of other reforms, including how housing allowances are calculated for users, an expansion to the Fry Scholarship for military survivors and a measure giving the GI Bill benefit to any Purple Heartrecipient, regardless of his or her time in service.
While the bill isn't currently on the House schedule, lawmakers have promised swift passage.
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The American Legion, Department of Indiana is proud to announce the selection of Mary C. Allred (Albion, IN - EMS), Scott Plough (Russiaville, IN - Firefighter) and Clifford E. Hibbs (LaGrange, IN – Law Enforcement) as the 2017 EMT, Firefighter and Law Enforcement of the Year.
The Department of Indiana honors local heroes in the fields of law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services every year in communities across Indiana.
The winner for EMT of the Year was Mary C. Allred.
Allred was sponsored by Post 97 in the 4th District.
Allred was introduced into the EMS field while her husband Bryan was working for the LaGrange EMS. She enrolled in an EMT basic class and continued her education until she became a paramedic. In 1995, after completing paramedic school, Allred and her husband traveled to Louisiana to work for Acadian Ambulance service.
In 1996, they moved back home to Indiana where Allred got a job in the Noble County Sherriff’s Department dispatch office and her husband started back with LaGrange EMS.
Tragically, in December of 1996, Allred lost her husband when a drunk driver crossed the center line and struck the ambulance he was working in. This led Allred to become an advocate for the “Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign throughout Michigan and Indiana. Through the campaign she traveled to schools and fire departments to educate people on the dangers of drunk driving.
Allred continues to teach the awareness of PTSD in the emergency services field to EMS, fire, police and other organizations.
Allred is currently the Director of Steuben County EMS.
The winner for Firefighter of the year is Scott Plough.
Plough was sponsored by Post 6 in the 5th District.
Plough is a firefighter for the Kokomo Fire Department where he is responsible for driving Rescue 1 and keeping accountability of all of the equipment. He also holds a position on our Hazardous Emergency Response Team and has attained numerous fire service certifications.
In addition to serving his community as a firefighter, he also serves our country in the United States Air Force Reserve.
Plough is also active in his community. He has taken part in multiple charitable events including the 911 Slugfest Boxing Match for the Make a Wish Foundation and the EOD Warrior Foundation.
Plough continues to further his training in life-saving techniques such as: Fire Investigator, Rope Rescue Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, Confined Space Technician and Vehicle and Machinery Rescue Ops.
The winner of Law Enforcement of the Year is Clifford E. Hibbs.
Hibbs was sponsored by Post 215 in the 4th District.
Hibbs had never a career in law enforcement until a family tragedy changed his mind. His brother had been killed by a drunk driver who was on her third operating while intoxicated charge. He said, “After losing my brother, I began to see things a lot differently. I began to wonder if I could do something to keep others from going through this, so I began to show an interest in law enforcement”.
After taking college courses to become a certified Corrections Officer, Hibbs took a position as a jail officer for the LaGrange County Sherriff’s Department in 1991. Hibbs never lost sight of his goal to become a law enforcement officer. After completing training at the Reserve Academy in Fort Wayne, Hibbs was hired for the LaGrange County Sherriff’s Department.
Hibbs has continued to increase his knowledge of law enforcement techniques to solidify himself as an asset to not only the LaGrange Sherriff's Dept., but to his community. He holds certifications in Close Quarters Combat, Ground Fighting and Krav Maga, which he instructs officers from multiple departments.
Hibbs has also donated time to give back to his community. He has been active in the county’s “Making a Difference Day” which is a program that builds parks for low income housing areas. He has also donned the cape and cowl as Batman during a recent “Halloween with Heroes” event. He said, “Anytime we can make a bit of a positive difference in some of the children’s lives is important. Whether its dressing like Batman or taking part in “Shop with a Cop” each year during the holiday season, it makes a difference”.
The American Legion, Department of Indiana honors local heroes in the fields of military service, law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services, and educators every year in communities across Indiana.
The American Legion is comprised of more than 77,000 military service veterans who have served honorably during times of conflict in defense of their nation and has been active within Indiana since 1919. The Indiana American Legion has represented veterans from every major conflict since World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan within its membership.
The American Legion, Department of Indiana is proud to announce the selection of Carla Bluhm (Monroe, IN), Paul Hewitt (Vevay, IN) and Michael Lance (Leo, IN) as the 2017 Educators of the Year.
Every year the American Legion Department of Indiana recognizes educators in three categories: kindergarten through 6th grade, 7th and 8th grades, and high school.
The Educator of the Year judging is based on the candidates’ career, community service, family involvement, and letters of recognition.
Each winning teacher also received a $500 grant to their school from the American Legion, Department of Indiana.
The winner for kindergarten through 6th grade was, Carla Bluhm.
Bluhm was sponsored by Post 468, from the Fourth District.
Bluhm has been teaching elementary school students for 31 years. She earned her Bachelor degree in Elementary Education from Ball State University in 1984. She started her teaching career as a Kindergarten teacher for Southern Wells Community Schools.
In 1989, she became a 2nd grade teacher for Southern Wells. Bluhm continued to teach 2nd grade until the year 2000 when you took a position as a reading recovery teacher at Adams Central Community Schools.
Throughout her teaching career, she has stressed the importance of parent involvement in the classroom. She continually brings in “parent volunteers” to be involved in classroom activities. Bluhm says, “It not only develops a positive teacher/parent relationship, but it also allows parents to be involved in their children’s education”.
She is also very active in her community. She has volunteered in multiple positions at the First Mennonite Church such as: Sunday school teacher, piano player and Bible school teacher. She has been a leader for the Adams County 4-H for 15 years. She has always volunteered for Pack Away Hunger for 5 years and roadside trash pick-up for 10 years.
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