President Trump awards first Medal of Honor

President Trump speaks at the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House on July 31, 2017.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump awarded his first Medal of Honor on Monday to James McCloughan of the US Army for “conspicuous gallantry during the Vietnam War.”

McCloughan received the honor for actions he 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 comrades — and was credited with saving the lives of 10 members of his company, according to the US Army.

McCloughan 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 the Vietnam War, 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 Halls of Fame, including the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Olivet College Athletic Hall of Fame.

This is the first Medal of Honor awarded by Trump. Former President Barack Obama presented 52 Medals of Honor during his time in office.