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Trump Medal of Honor
President Donald Trump bestows the nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, to retired Army medic James McCloughan during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Monday, July 31, 2017, in Washington. McCloughan is credited with saving members of his platoon nearly 50 years ago in the Battle of Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump awarded his first Medal of Honor to Vietnam War Army medic James McCloughan


Updated July 31, 2017 03:15 PM EDT

Watch as President Trump awards the Medal of Honor to James McCloughan.

Updated July 31, 2017 03:28 PM EDT

President Trump on Monday called the first person he has awarded the Medal of Honor a "brave guy" for his service during the Vietnam War.

"Jim, I know I speak for every person here, that I say we are in awe of your strength," he told James "Jim" McCloughan, an Army medic from Michigan. "He was prepared to lay down his life so his brothers in arms could live theirs."

"He would not yield, he would not rest, he would not stop and he would not flinch in the face of sure death and definite danger," Trump continued.

"Although he was thousands of miles from home, it was as if the whole strength of our nation was beating inside him."

Trump added that McCloughan's unit began calling him "Doc" for the medic's selfless acts caring for his comrades.

"Private McCloughan carries one title, and that title is hero," he said of the Brighton, Michigan, native. "With God as your witness, we thank you for what you did for all of us."

Trump pinned the back of the award around McCloughan's neck before giving the Army medic a tight handshake followed by a close embrace.

Trump did not offer any other remarks besides praise for McCloughan.

President Trump is expected to award his first Medal of Honor on Monday to James McCloughan, an Army medic from Michigan who risked his life repeatedly to save comrades during the Vietnam War.

McCloughan, 71, is being honored for his heroic actions during the Battle of Hui Yon Hill in 1969, which he recalled as “the worst two days of my life.”

In a June announcement, the White House said McCloughan, “voluntarily risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded and disoriented comrades. He suffered wounds from shrapnel and small arms fire on three separate occasions, but refused medical evacuation to stay with his unit, and continued to brave enemy fire to rescue, treat, and defend wounded Americans.”

The Medal of Honor is one of the oldest combat decorations and is given to Armed Forces members who go above and beyond the call of duty. It is America's highest military honor.

Typically the medal is awarded within five years of the recipient’s actions. However, in 2016, former President Obama signed a bill to waive the time limit.

McCloughan said the ceremony on Monday is going to be "pretty special."

“President Donald Trump will be putting that on me for the first time in his experience of doing such a thing,” McCloughan said. “That’s pretty special.”

McCloughan left the Army in 1970 and spent years teaching psychology and sociology at South Haven High School. The former medic has received multiple awards, including the Combat Medical Badge, two Bronze Stars, the U. S. Army Valorous Unit Citation, and the National Defense Medal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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