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Photo: Justin McKee/WWAY

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Nearly fifty years ago, Paul Cagle almost lost his life serving his country during the Vietnam War.

“I thought that this may be the day I die. And then I realized, if I’m gonna go, I need to go down fighting and helping my shipmates. And then I just got on automatic and I just did what I had to do,” said Cagle.

That day was April 2nd, 1968. Two of Cagle’s patrol boat riverine shipmates were being pursued by enemy forces and running out of ammunition.

As they tried to return to the PBR, they became stuck in the Vietnamese river mud.

That’s when Cagle sprung into action, risking his life in the process.

“Paul Cagle, without hesitation and under heavy fire, lept from his firing position and pulled Big Mike out of the mud and onto the PBR,” said David Shuster, the Commanding Officer of Navy Operational Support Center in Wilmington.

A heroic act that will always be remembered. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal at the USS North Carolina Battleship on Saturday, surrounded by his friends and family.

“I am very, very honored, I feel very humble, and well, I’m overwhelmed,” said Cagle.

And almost half a century after his selfless act, he remains just as selfless to this day.

“It’s not for me, it’s for everybody that has served, those that are serving, and those that will serve. This is recognition for everyone,” said Cagle.

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to members of the US Armed Forces for acts of heroism or merit in a combat zone.

We here at WWAY want to thank Cagle for all that he’s done for our country.

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  • Greg

    Do you plan to post the video clip from the evening news?

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