Display at New Orleans VAMC
On January 31, 1970, Pfc. Raymond M. Clausen Jr. raced back and forth through heavy enemy fire across an active minefield, making six dangerous trips to rescue stranded Marines. Risking his own life over and over near Da Nang, Clausen was just 22 years old when he carried 11 wounded Marines and the body of one who had been killed to a waiting helicopter during the Vietnam War.
For these actions, Clausen was presented the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon on June 15, 1971. For the next 3 decades, Clausen spoke often at Veterans organizations about his experience. On May 30, 2004, the New Orleans-born hero died and was buried in Ponchatoula Cemetery with full military honors.
Recently, Clausen’s family donated one of his uniforms and a copy of his Medal of Honor citation to Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 1052 in Independence, La. The chapter decided a case was needed to protect and display the items, so they asked their partners, VVA Chapter 689 of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, for help. Chapter 689 gladly volunteered to build a shadowbox and an easel to honor Clausen’s memory.
Chapter 1052 President Tom Munster said, “I think the guys  nailed it with this item, paying Michael [Clausen went by his middle name] his due respect. He did a hell of a thing in the true spirit of the Marine Corps. You don’t leave a Marine behind.”
On April 17, 2019, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System staff were pleased to receive the Medal of Honor display on loan from VVA Chapter 1052. A dozen 1052 members carried the display in and set it up in the main concourse of the New Orleans VA medical center, near the main entrance for all to see.
Director Fernando Rivera said, “We are proud to be able to have this display. This means a lot to our health care system and our Veterans. We appreciate the chance to honor Pfc. Clausen and his family by sharing this display with our Veterans who come to their medical center for care. We think it will strike up a conversation between Veterans and their family members about this hero and what he represents to our country. That’s why we want this display — a constant reminder, never forget, keep the promise.”
The display is on display at the New Orleans Veterans medical center until July as part of the VA’s commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. At a later date, the display will be moved to the Hammond Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Clausen’s hometown — he graduated from Hammond High School in 1965.
Munster thanked Rivera for his willingness to display Clausen’s shadowbox at the medical center, saying, “It means a lot to us, the help and consideration you gave us to get the project going. To Michael I want to say, Semper Fi. Semper Fi.”
About the Author: Jamie Mobley is a public affairs specialist at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans. She is an Army Veteran and a graduate of Kansas State University.