Mike Clausen was one helluva Marine! He earned the Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam (more below).
I first met Mike in Pensacola, Florida during a Marine reunion. Over the next four or five years I would communicate with Mike over e-mail and help him with his technical (computer) questions. I saw Mike three or four times after our first get together. Mike died in 2004 but will never be forgotten.
Members of the USMC Combat Helicopter Association remembers Mike:
Vietnam War 1965-1973
Medal of Honor Recipient
Raymond Michael Clausen, Jr., who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in January 1970, was born October 14, 1947, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He graduated from high school in 1965, then attended college for six months.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at New Orleans, March 30, 1966 and was discharged to enlist in the regular Marine Corps, May 27, 1966. Private Clausen received recruit training with the 3d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, and individual combat training with the 3d Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Pendleton, California. He then completed Aviation Mechanical Fundamentals School and the Basic Helicopter Course, Naval Air Technical Training Center, Memphis, Tennessee.
Upon completion of his training in April 1967, he was transferred to Marine Aircraft Group 26 (MAG-26), Marine Corps Air Facility, New River, Jacksonville, North Carolina, and served as jet engineer mechanic with HMM-365 and, later, as guard with MABS-26.
In December 1967, Private Clausen was ordered overseas where he was to serve as jet helicopter mechanic throughout his active duty service. Joining the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, he was with H&MS-36, MAG-36 until September 1968, then with HMM-364, MAG-16 until the following August.
Private Clausen returned to the United States, where he joined MAG-26 at New River for duty with HMM-261.
In November 1969, he began his second tour of duty with HMM-263, MAG-16, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. On August 19, 1970, upon his return to the United States, he was released from active duty.
A complete list of his medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Air Crewman Insignia and the Air Medal, both with three Gold Stars, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one silver star and one bronze star, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with device, and the Rifle Sharpshooter Badge.
Private Clausens parents are Mr. and Mrs. Raymond M. Clausen, Sr., of Hammond, Louisiana.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263, Marine Aircraft Group 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 operation 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 laden 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.