Utah man awarded nine medals 45 years after he earned them in Vietnam

Posted at 5:41 PM, Apr 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 19:41:14-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah man just received nine medals for his service during the Vietnam War.

Franklin Cagle was drafted and served as an enlisted infantry soldier in 1970 and 1971.

He spent his tour in combat, assigned to a unit that was flown in Huey helicopters to remote battlefields, and when he returned, he went to school and talked little about his service.

"In my whole time at the University of Tennessee I never told anyone I was a Vietnam veteran," he said. "It was one of those things you kept to yourself."

But now, he says things have changed. Americans became more respectful of war service, even if they disagreed with the war.

"Through the years, I became very proud of what the veterans had done," Cagle said.

Congresswoman Mia Love presented Cagle with several medals:

• Air Medal (awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight)
• Bronze Star Medal (awarded for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone)
• Army Commendation Medal (awarded to any member other than General Officers who distinguished himself by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service)
• National Defense Service Medal
• Vietnam Service Medal & Single Bronze Star Attachment
• Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award (awarded to those engaged in active ground combat)
• Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon w/ Device
• Expert Badge & Mortar Bar & Pistol Bar
• Sharpshooter Badge & Rifle Bar

Cagle says he's most proud of the Combat Infantryman Badge, because it's a simple acknowledgement that he's among the minority of soldiers who served in combat.