Clebe McClary – Patriot of the Week

On March 3, 1968, deep inside enemy territory, 2nd Lt. Clebe McClary’s patrol of fifteen Marines braced for an attack by a much larger Vietnamese force. The silence was shattered when an explosion hurled McClary through the air and tore his left arm completely off. Disoriented and fully exposed to Vietnamese fire, McClary inspired his Marines by running between fighting positions to redirect their fire. He was then hit by a grenade blast that blew out his left eye and burst both of his eardrums. Bleeding profusely, McClary grabbed the radio to call for artillery and air strikes. He was then struck by another grenade blast that mutilated his legs. Unable to move, McClary continued to shout orders until the massive loss of blood caused him to lose consciousness.

McClary survived the ordeal, but his body was full of shrapnel and held together with stitches, staples, and bandages. His face was unrecognizable and his body was covered with open wounds. He spent the next two and one-half years in hospitals and rehabilitation where he had thirty-four operations and countless hours of therapy.

For his selfless sacrifice and courageous leadership under fire, McClary was awarded the Silver Star. He was told he would never walk again, yet he has run marathons and set treadmill records. He now travels the country speaking at over 150 high schools, 30 prisons, and numerous Christian-related events each year. His F.I.D.O. (Forget It & Drive On) speech motivates thousands each year to stop looking behind and strain towards what’s ahead.

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