Ross Perot Aids Ailing Medal of Honor Winner 
 01:42 AM CST on Friday, January 23, 2004

The  word  hero  gets  used a lot  these days,  but very  few earn  the  nation's highest award: the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

One  winner of  this prestigious honor is  now recovering  in the Dallas Veter- ans' Administration Hospital.  The story of how he got there  is a tribute to a North Texas man that this veteran believes is also a true hero. 

Former Marine Pvt. Raymond Michael Clausen prefers to be called "Mike." 

"Everytime  they  called  me  Raymond,  I was  in trouble,"  he said, smiling. "The only one to call me Raymond - and  I wasn't in trouble - was President Nixon." 

That  was  the day Clausen  received  the  Congressional Medal of Honor  for risking  his  life  in  Vietnam.  He  saved an  entire platoon  that was trapped, under fire, in a mine field. 

"The pilot kept telling me, 'no, no,  you stay on this aircraft,  everybody stay on  this  aircraft,  nobody  get  off this  aircraft,'   but  I  was  already  gone," Clausen said. "I said 'to hell with it ... we've got to get these guys out.'" 

Clausen  was crew chief on  a  CH-46 helicopter.  On the ground,  20 Marines were  surrounded - 11 of them already wounded.  Clausen repeatedly  left the safety of the chopper to get them home alive. 

"I ran over there (and) picked up the guys that couldn't walk," Clausen said. "The  ones  that  could walk  were  under the  assumption  I knew  where  the mines were,  obviously,  and they followed  every footstep I made back to the helicopter." 

Clausen  never  much like being called a hero,  but he  said over  time he  got used to it.  In  his mind,  however,  the  real hero is Ross Perot - the man,  he says, who saved his life. 

Perot's legendary  efforts on  behalf of  veterans have  taken him  to Vietnam and beyond.  When Dallas  held a  parade for veterans  of the  first Gulf War, Perot  flew in  Medal of Honor winners,  including  Clausen.  Now,  however, Clausen  suffers from Hepatitis C and Diabetes,  which  he  said he  got from Agent Orange in Vietnam. 

Somehow,  Perot heard that Clausen was getting inadequate care at his home near New Orleans. 

"A couple of days later,  (Perot) called me and  said he was sending his plane to pick me up at the Hammond Airport," Clausen said. 

At Dallas' Zale Lipshy Hospital,  doctors did dozens of tests and a skin graft. Now, Clausen is recuperating at the Veterans' Administration Hospital. 

Perot  asked  News 8 not to focus this story on him,  but on Claussen,  saying "what I did for him is insignificant compared to what he did for us." 

So did Clausen do it because he wanted to be brave, or a hero? 

"No,"  he said firmly. "I did it because there were troops out in the field that needed help getting out - brother Marines,  if you want to call them that.  We were all the same, all brothers." 

And thanks to a friend, Clausen is one more brother who'll go home alive. 


Raymond M. Clausen's History Index

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