By DARLENE SUPERVILLE
WASHINGTON — An Army medic who “ran into danger” to save wounded soldiers during a Vietnam War battle despite his own serious wounds on Monday became the first Medal of Honor recipient under President Donald Trump, 48 years after the selfless acts for which James McCloughan is now nationally recognized.
McCloughan mouthed “thank you” as Trump placed the distinctive blue ribbon holding the medal around the neck of the former Army private first class. As the president and commander in chief shook McCloughan’s hand, Trump said “very proud of you” before he pulled the retired soldier into an embrace.
“I know I speak for every person here when I say that we are in awe of your actions and your bravery,” Trump said, describing McCloughan’s actions for a rapt audience that included numerous senior White House and administration officials. Among them were Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, sworn in earlier Monday as the new White House chief of staff.
McCloughan said in a brief statement on the White House driveway after the ceremony that it was “humbling” to receive the medal. Now 71, he pledged to do his best to represent the men who fought alongside him “as the caretaker of this symbol of courage and action beyond the call of duty.”
Drafted into the Army, McCloughan was a 23-year-old private first class and medic who in 1969 found himself in the middle of the raging Battle of Nui Yon Hill. McCloughan willingly entered the “kill zone” to rescue injured comrades…