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.
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