Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Teacher Awarded Medal of Honor

James McCloughlan was drafted in August of 1968, right after college graduation, and because of his background in athletics and sports medicine, received advanced medical specialist training. He began his combat tour in Vietnam in March of 1969.

On May 13, his company was sent into a three-sided box, and the enemy proceeded to tear them to shreds. Things rapidly deteriorated to the point that McCloughan's superior ordered medical personnel out. McCloughan refused. In the course of the three day engagement, McCloughan ran across an open field to retrieve a wounded soldier. He took shrapnel while rescuing two other wounded soldiers. When supplies ran low, he sat in an exposed position with a blinking light so that supplies could be dropped to the troops.

In the end, McCloughan was credited with saving ten soldiers. Ten men whose lives would have been cut short. McCloughan was twenty-three years old.

There is, of course, plenty to object to in the Vietnam war, and McCloughan never should have been there in the first place. But once there, at great personal risk, he saved the lives of ten other young men.

And this week he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

But McCloughan did something else with his life. In 1970 he returned from the war, and stepped back into a deferred job that had been waiting for him-- teacher and coach at South Haven High School in his home town of South Haven, Michigan. There he taught through a four-decade career, including coaching wrestling for 22 years and coaching football and baseball for 38 years.

And for his medal ceremony, Donald Trump delivered a speech that didn't suck.

Read the whole story. It's not often we think of teachers as Medal of Honor material.

1 comment:

  1. I remember my high school biology teacher, Mr. Kelly, with great fondness. He had lost a forearm and two fingers on the other hand in a tank in the Korean War. He had a prosthetic arm with a hook at the end and he used his two fingers and thumb on his remaining hand to write on the overhead transparencies. He was a passionate teacher who worked enthusiastically every day.