Medal of Honor to be awarded 48 years after action – Part 2

By Roxanne Thompson
Staff Writer

Part 2
In the previous issue, we read what happened during a 48-hour battle May 13-15, 1969, at Nui Yon Hill in Tam Ky, in Vietnam, and how a U.S. Army medic named James C. McCloughan saved the lives of ten of his fellow soldiers as well as one South Vietnamese.
According to the Medal of Honor paperwork, one witness stated: “When supplies ran low, McCloughan volunteered to hold a blinking light in an open area as a marker for a nighttime re-supply drop. He remained steadfast while bullets landed all around him and RPGs flew over his exposed body.”
Supporting documentation also stated: “During the morning darkness of May 15, McCloughan knocked out the RPG position with a grenade. He continued to fight and eliminate enemy soldiers. In addition, he treated numerous casualties, kept two critically wounded soldiers alive during the night, and organized the dead and wounded for evacuation at daylight.”

Aftermath and analysis
Only 32 of the original 89 soldiers walked out of the battle; 12 died, one was missing in action and the remaining 44 were either wounded, got hurt jumping out of the helicopter or were overcome by heat exhaustion and had to be sent by Medivac to a hospital.
McCloughan credits the artillery support that his unit received from other sources for keeping alive those who survived.
“If it hadn’t been for support units like the air attacks that came in and helped us out, and the artillery coming in from different spots that were shooting at the enemy; and the Navy was shooting their big guns off from the China Sea and helping us out – I credit my men and all that support for the fact that I’m still alive,” he said.
As for where McCloughan got the courage to do what he did, he said his parents and coaches instilled in him the attitude that he must do what he was responsible to do.

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Mexia News. Subscribe online or call 254-562-2868.