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Wrestler, coach and official James McCloughan presented Medal of Honor for acts of valor during Vietnam War

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | Aug. 01, 2017, 10 a.m. (ET)

Photo: President Trump presents James McCloughan the Medal of Honor. Photo by Alex Brandon, AP.

On July 31, President Trump awarded South Haven, Mich. native James McCloughan the Medal of Honor, the most prestigious personal military decoration, for his acts of bravery and valor on the battlefield while serving the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

The 71-year-old McCloughan risked his life repeatedly to save 10 fellow American soldiers in the May 1969 Battle of Nui Yon Hill. McCloughan was a private first class at the time of these events and rose to a rank of specialist five during his military career. He received the Combat Medical Badge, two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars prior to the Medal of Honor.

President Trump spoke to McCloughan’s heroics at the White House ceremony by saying, "It was as if the strength and the pride of our whole nation were beating inside Jim's heart.”

McCloughan was entrenched in the wrestling community as a four-year participant in the sport at Olivet College before coaching wrestling at South Haven High School for over 20 years.

He competed at 130 pounds for Olivet from 1964 to 1968. His career record was 32-11-1. During his junior and senior seasons, McCloughan served as team caption and won the MIAA Championships. He did not compete in the sport prior to college.

McCloughan graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Olivet in 1968. Following his service in Vietnam, he moved to South Haven where he was a teacher and coach until his retirement in 2008. McCloughan also coached football and baseball.

He also spent many years as a wrestling official for the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

McCloughan has been inducted into the Olivet College Athletic Hall of Fame, the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The Medal of Honor presented to McCloughan was the first such honor awarded by the Trump administration.

Other coverage
The New York Times: Medal of Honor Goes to Vietnam Medic Who Ran Through ‘Hell on Earth’
The Washington Post: A soldier survived 48 hours of terror in Vietnam. He just received the Medal of Honor.
USA Today: Retired Army medic James McCloughan awarded Medal of Honor for Vietnam War bravery