President Donald Trump on Monday presented the nation’s highest award for battlefield valor to Spc-5 Jim McCloughan for the former Army medic’s actions during the Vietnam War.
In a ceremony at The White House, Trump told the story of how McCloughan (pronounced Mc-Lew-En) rescued 10 of his fellow soldiers during 48 hours of intense combat in May 1969.
“Jim did what his father had taught him. He gave it his all, and he just kept giving,” Trump said. “He would not yield. He would not rest. He would not stop. And he would not flinch in the face of death and definite danger.”
As a private first class, McCloughan and 89 other men in his unit were involved in an air assault near Tam Ky and Nui Yon Hill on May 13, 1969. Two helicopters were shot down by the North Vietnamese almost immediately.
“It quickly became clear that they were surrounded by enemy troops,” Trump said. With “complete disregard for his own life,” he ran 100 meters through an open field to rescue a wounded soldier, according to the award citation.
McCloughan was wounded twice during the two-day mission, in which he repeatedly braved enemy fire to rescue his comrades. Later in the battle, he refused medical evacuation and, when supplies ran low, volunteered to guide helicopters into the area at night by using a blinking strobe light, even as “bullets landed all around him.”
Besides rescuing his comrades and tending to their wounds, McCloughan also took out an enemy rocket-propelled grenade position and other enemy soldiers during the mission.