Veteran who saved lives in battle is honored aboard USS North Carolina

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) — Paul Cagle of Longs, South Carolina was presented a Bronze Star (second award) with Combat “V” on the USS North Carolina Saturday.

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The award was presented by Commander Dave Shuster, the Commanding Officer with the Navy Operational Support Center in Wilmington.

“Paul Cagle is a hero. There is no question. Not in my mind. What truly stands out to me is how humble and appreciative this man is,” said Shuster.

Gunner’s Mate Cagle is a veteran who was part of a four-man crew aboard a River Patrol Boat (PBR 139) during the Vietnam War.

He received the Bronze Star Medal because of his heroic actions when he placed himself in harm’s way to rescue two sailors while taking fire against a numerically superior enemy.

Those sailors were hopelessly stuck in mud while facing fire from the Vietnamese.

Risking his own life, Paul Cagle pulled them out.

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“It’s not about me it’s about all those that have served. Those that will serve. And the people that are serving now,” said Cagle when asked about the award.

“He saved my life,” said Joe Vitale, the only other living member of Cagle’s patrol team.

After receiving his award, Cagle delivered a powerful message to those in attendance.

“I think we all need to take a moment and reflect about how good we do have it in this country. That everything we do have is paid for by those who go out and serve. And there are certain individuals who give it all. They give it their life. And I think we should never, ever forget that that is the most supreme sacrifice. To give one’s life for his country,” he said.

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