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Medal of Honor Recipient James C. McCloughan Interview
Medal of Honor Recipient Allen J Lynch interviews Specialist Five James C. McCloughan about the actions McCloughan took over the course of 48 hours in close-combat fighting against enemy forces in Vietnam in 1969.
McCloughan, who was 23 at the time, was serving as a private first class combat medic after being drafted. He voluntarily risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded and disoriented soldiers. He suffered wounds from shrapnel and small arms fire during the encounter but refused medical evacuation to stay with his unit, according to a White House statement.
After Vietnam, McCloughan returned home and spent nearly 40 years teaching and coaching sports at South Haven High School in Michigan. He taught psychology, sociology, and geography and coached football, wrestling and baseball. He was later inducted into numerous state Hall of Fames, including the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Olivet College Athletic Hall of Fame.
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.
Traditionally the Medal of Honor is only awarded within five years of the recipient’s heroic actions, but a waiver signed by former Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning in December 2016 allowed for McCloughan to receive the Medal of Honor five decades after the actions for which it was earned.
McCloughan was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump at a ceremony on July 31, 2017.
ALLEN J LYNCH is a Chicago native, a veteran of the United States Army, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for combat actions in the Vietnam War. On December 15, 1967, Lynch and the rest of his platoon were on their way back for a well-deserved rest when they were called in to support another company that had been outnumbered by an enemy force. Lynch, operating under intense fire, carried three wounded soldiers to safety, and single-handedly defended them against the advancing enemy force for several hours. After leaving active duty, Lynch worked for several years in the Veterans Administration, advocating for increased benefits for disabled veterans, and served most recently as chief of the Veterans Rights Bureau for the Illinois Attorney General's Office. Now retired, he is the president and founder of the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Foundation, an organization providing assistance to veterans and their families in the recovery or education process, allowing veterans to move forward in their life.