June 26, 2004 by

Mike Clausen Jr.


Categories: Military

mclausen.jpgFor rescuing a platoon of Marines trapped in a minefield during the Vietnam War, Raymond Michael Clausen Jr. received the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for valor. He also earned a Purple Heart and the Air Medal.
A bit of a rebel, Clausen was demoted after every one of his promotions. But the perpetual private was willing to risk his life to help his brothers in arms. On Jan. 31, 1970, he was serving with Medium Helicopter Squadron 263 when his unit was given a dangerous mission: the extraction of a Marine platoon near Da Nang that had wandered into a minefield during battle.
As crew chief of a CH-46 helicopter, Clausen guided his pilot to a landing spot that had been cleared by a mine explosion. He then disobeyed several orders to wait by the chopper. Instead, Clausen marched back and forth through the minefield to carry six Marines to safety.
Born in New Orleans, Clausen spent six months in college before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1966. After flying 1,960 combat missions in Vietnam, Clausen returned to America in 1970. A short while later, he was involved in a serious car accident that left him comatose for months. When he regained consciousness, he was nearly blind in one eye and could barely walk. Clausen suffered from health problems for the rest of his life, but he still took the time to speak with veterans groups.
Clausen died on May 30 from complications of liver failure. He was 56.

3 Responses to Mike Clausen Jr.

  1. Tom Edmondson

    I was loaned out to HMM 263 in 1969 and flew with Mike on Blood Sweat and Tears as a gunner many times (we rotated between birds). Mike was passionate about helping other people and accepted me as part of the squadron from day one. I often times flew as “stinger” (Leatherneck Magazine article)and began helping with maintenance, becoming 1st mechanic and eventually became a crew chief and changed my MOS to 6112. Mike was upretentious, but could be very blunt (as evidenced by his comments to the investigating general, questioning him about the evacuation of the marines trapped in the mine field). I only learned of his passing yesterday when I finally typed in HMM 263 into my browser. I will always remember Mike

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