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Medal of Honor Roll Call: Raymond M. Clausen Jr.

Louisiana-born Marine disobeyed orders to save fellow Leathernecks in Vietnam.

This week’s Medal of Honor Vietnam hero is a great example of a Marine, whose warrior spirit kept getting him in trouble with the spit-and-polish types. Asked to explain his pattern of promotion-demotion-promotion-demotion, he told an interviewer: “I would rather be a live private than a dead sergeant.” The quote captures his personality and in a twisted way explains his disobeying orders to save Marines as a medevac helicopter crew chief.

Make the most of your day!

–RJL

BLOODSWEATTEARS

Raymond M. Clausen Jr.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263, Marine Aircraft Croup 16, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 31 January 1970. Entered service at: New Orleans, La. Born: 14 October 1947, New Orleans, La.

Citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263 during operations against enemy forces. Participating in a helicopter rescue mission to extract elements of a platoon which had inadvertently entered a minefield while attacking enemy positions, Pfc. Clausen skillfully guided the helicopter pilot to a landing in an area cleared by 1 of several mine explosions. With 11 marines wounded, 1 dead, and the remaining 8 marines holding their positions for fear of detonating other mines, Pfc. Clausen quickly leaped from the helicopter and, in the face of enemy fire, moved across the extremely hazardous mineladen area to assist in carrying casualties to the waiting helicopter and in placing them aboard. Despite the ever-present threat of further mine explosions, he continued his valiant efforts, leaving the comparatively safe area of the helicopter on 6 separate occasions to carry out his rescue efforts. On 1 occasion while he was carrying 1 of the wounded, another mine detonated, killing a corpsman and wounding 3 other men. Only when he was certain that all marines were safely aboard did he signal the pilot to lift the helicopter. By the courageous, determined and inspiring efforts in the face of the utmost danger, Pfc. Clausen upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Service.

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Written By

Robert J. Laplander is a military historian and the the author of Finding the Lost Battalion and other works. You may see his endeavors at www.lulu.com/lostbattalion or: http://bit.ly/kUcnN2

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