McCloughan, Jim


Jim McCloughan

Inducted: 2008

36 years of coaching football all within the South Haven School District Football program. Record: 188-123-5. Has coached 131 teams in South Haven’s athletic program. Coached in 2722 contests in four combined sports. Conference champions in 2007 (South Haven’s first Conference Championship in 23 years.) MHSAA Playoff Qualifier in 2007 (South Haven’s first appearance in 30 years.) Olivet College Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee, 1978. Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee, 1993. Bangor High School Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee, 1997. Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee, 2003. U.S. Army Decorations include The Congressional Medal of Honor, 3 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts, Combat Medic Badge, Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palms, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal. Retired from coaching in 2008.

Detroit Free Press Article

Written by: Todd Spangler:  703-854-8947 or at

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump  said today he will award the Medal of Honor next month to a retired west Michigan high school teacher and coach who as a medic is credited with saving the lives of 10 members of his platoon during the Battle of Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam nearly 50 years ago. 

Trump will present the nation’s highest military award to James  McCloughan, a 71-year-old resident of South Haven, at a ceremony in Washington on July 31. The award comes in the wake of a measure passed last year by Congress waiving the time limit in which the award could be given. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama before he left office. 

“We are forever grateful for then-Private First Class James McCloughan’s service to our country,” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said. “Today, we are proud to announce that he is finally getting the recognition he deserves.”

As the Free Press previously reported, McCloughan, who could not be immediately reached, was a 23-year-old medic who, over the course of a bloody, two-day battle in May 1969 near Don Que, returned to the battlefield multiple times to retrieve wounded soldiers despite being hit with shrapnel from a grenade and being shot in the arm.


McCloughan, who was drafted into the Army after graduating from Olivet College with a bachelor of arts in sociology and a teaching certificate, spent nearly four decades after returning to Michigan teaching psychology, sociology and geography at South Haven High School and coaching football, wrestling and baseball. He is a member of the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame.


“This is not a James McCloughan award, it’s an award for my men, for Charlie Company,” McCloughan told the Free Press last year when Congress was moving toward authorizing his receiving the award. “We had a horrendous battle, a situation you will never forget. … I wasn’t going to leave my men, and they were going to protect me.”

McCloughan — who rose to the rank of specialist 5 — has already received numerous decorations associated with his bravery, including the Combat Medical Badge, two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. But his receiving the Medal of Honor was hampered by rules that it had to have been awarded within five years of the actions that warrant it. 

Some years ago, McCloughan’s old platoon leader, Randy Clark, began an effort to have the Pentagon review whether he should still receive the award. Former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter decided he should but said that Congress would have to act to waive the time limit. It did so as part of a defense authorization act passed last December.