Specialist Five James McCloughan’s Medal of Honor citation, like all Medal of Honor citations, will drop your jaw to the floor. A 23 year old combat medic in the middle of Vietnam, he braved heavy fire to move an injured casualty to safety and was wounded by shrapnel before saving two more. He went on to run directly into fire four more times to extract wounded men, treating wounds and getting everyone prepped for evac. Despite his wounds, he refused to evacuate as he was one of two medics on the ground–the other of which would be killed and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Wounded again by small arms fire and more shrapnel, he would expose himself to save more injured soldiers, take out an enemy RPG position–the list goes on and on. You can read his citation here, at the bottom half where the military aide comes forward to read it. His actions undoubtedly speak for themselves.

When it comes to Medal of Honor recipients, you usually hear a couple sides of the story: What did they do on the day(s) when they earned our nation’s highest military honor? What is the soldier like when the uniform comes off and he goes back home?

I had the distinct honor of speaking to Mr. McCloughan the other day, and there was another story that I was fascinated to hear. What was the man like as a soldier? Or more specifically, as a combat medic?

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I would soon find that his heroism and dedication to the men in his company did not start on May 13th, 1969. He strove to provide the highest level of care possible for his guys, day in and day out.