This week a greatful nation says ‘Thank you’ to those who have risked their lives defending our way of life and we honor the men and women who have given their lives to protect the freedom of this country.
Today we remember Lt. Donald C. MacLaughlin, United States Naval Academy, Class of ’63
Paul Rabil, Chris Rotelli, Gary Gait, Josh Sims, Kyle Harrison. All names we know. All-Americans, National Champions, game changing players on the field. But there is another thread that binds them, all were recipients of the NCAA’s prestigous MacLaughlin Award, given to the nations most outstanding lacrosse midfield.
The award’s name-sake is Lt. Donald C MacLaughlin, USNA ’63, graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. He was a 2x All-American and 3x USILA National Champion (’61-’63) playing along side George Tracy and Pete Taylor under Hall of Fame Coach Willis Bilderback during the ‘Decade of Domination’, and was awarded the Naval Academy Athletic Association Sword for excellence in athletics.
Known for his hard-nosed and tenacious play, Don was humble and quiet off the field, shunning the spotlight of the North/South All-Star game in lieu of his wedding to his fiancee, Gayle. He was known as a man who would do anything for a friend or teammate. No favor was too great.
Lt. Donald C. MacLaughlin made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life for his country on January 2, 1966 when his A4C Skyhawk fighter went down over the Quang Ngai province of South Vietnam. And though he is gone, his memory lives on through those who knew him, those who tell his story and the award which bears his name.
His legacy is a shining example of the character and determination that makes this game and the young men who play it… great.