US President Donald Trump on 1 August 2017 awarded the Medal of Honour, first such award under his administration, to US army medic James McCloughan, who risked his own life to save wounded Americans during the Vietnam War.
The recognition comes to the war veteran almost 48 years after his selfless acts. The award ceremony was attended by several senior White House and administration officials including Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and the new White House chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly.
Speaking on the occasion, Trump who was full of praises for McCloughan said, “I know I speak for every person here when I say that we are in awe of your actions and your bravery.” Trump added saying that McCloughan ran into danger.
The 71-year-old after receiving the medal pledged to give his all to represent the men who fought alongside him as the caretaker of this symbol of courage and action beyond the call of duty.
About James C McCloughan
• Born on 30 April 1946, McCloughan is a former United States Army soldier and a Vietnam War veteran.
• After being drafted into the US Army in 1968, McCloughan became a combat medic, and in May 1969 he found himself amidst a raging Battle.
• He willingly entered the main fighting zone to rescue the injured soldiers despite his own grievous injuries caused by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade.
• McCloughan left the Army in 1970 and spent the next several decades as a high school teacher and athletics coach in his hometown of South Haven in Michigan. He retired in 2008.
• He describes the war time as the worst two days of his life.
The White House, while announcing the honour last month, said that McCloughan voluntarily risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded and disoriented comrades. He 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 the enemy fire to rescue, treat, and defend wounded Americans.
About the Medal of Honour
• It is America’s highest and most prestigious personal military decoration.
• It is awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who distinguished themselves by acts of bravery.
• The medal is generally awarded by the President of the United States in the name of the U.S. Congress.
• There are three versions of the medal, one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force.
• The honour is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the United States armed forces.
• It was initially created as a Navy version in 1861 named the "Medal of Valor".
• The Army version of the medal named the "Medal of Honor" was established in 1862 to give recognition to men who distinguished themselves "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity" in combat with an enemy of the United States.
The honour of receiving the medal goes to the Armed Forces members who distinguish themselves by going above and beyond the call of duty in battle.
When: 1 August 2017
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