Vietnam War Hero Shares His Story

Former Marine first lieutenant and Vietnam War vet survived 40 surgeries and lost one eye and his left arm, which made him suffer from mental and emotional stress. Clebe McClary now shares his story with people around the world.

He wears an eye patch which covers his left eye and when he enters the room, the six feet tall former Marine makes sure everyone is aware of his presence, by acknowledging and greeting each one of them.

He recalled that one time when he wished he had bled to death, in March 1968, during an enemy attack when the first explosion left McClary without his left arm. Two of the soldiers who were with him lost their lives and he was hit by too more grenades. Next to him in the attack was PFC Ralph Johnson, Medal of Honor winner, who saved the lives of his fellow Marines, by jumping on a grenade. McClary said he was a hero because he saved his life.

“I thank God for being alive,” he said, remembering the time when he was in hospital and all he wanted was to die. His face was all bleeding, he had lost his teeth, his lips, his eye and his left arm and not even the doctors believed he would ever be able to walk again. He remembered the crowds outside the hospital, protesting and throwing stones and burning flags.

McClary was once visited by a professional golfer called Billy Casper. And although he wasn’t an expert in golf and he didn’t know anything about Casper, the man was able to change his life. Billy turned to McClary and said, ‘I love you, I’m praying for you and thank you for what you have done.’ He continued saying that Billy truly motivated him and made him understand the fact that God put him in this world for a reason, Billy saved his life, he said.

McClary insisted on saying thank you to his wife, with whom he has been married for 46 years and who has been standing next to him through his difficult times and encouraged his fellow servicemen to love their spouses and to build stronger relationships with them, the DVIDS News reports.

He praised his wife, who during sickness took care of him instead of choosing to move on without him and leave him behind. He said that is what true love is and he is very grateful for it.

“Today’s service members are stronger, smarter and better looking than we could have ever dreamed of,” McClary said.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE