Marine awarded Bronze Star 48 years after Vietnam battle

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum hosted a free symposium on the USS Yorktown where a Marine Battalion shared stories and strategies from the Vietnam War.

The battalion is known as the Magnificent Bastards of the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines.

A member of the battalion, Lance Corporal Michael G. Castle, was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for valor in combat resulting from his actions during battle on Jan. 30, 1969, in the Republic of Vietnam, according to Patriots Point officials.

Castle is from Rhode Island, but currently resides in Texas.

Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston and Navy Cross recipient Gen. William Weise presented him with the award.

According to the Secretary of the Navy, Castle and the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines were under heavy gunfire from the enemy and a U.S. plane who had mistaken them as the opponents.

"I can't blame them, we were out of of our coordinates," Castle said.

Castle and others were wounded but he went over to help a fellow Marine who was hurt.

"I gave him my helmet because his helmet blew off...I was laying on Dan to try to save his life. I don't believe that he wouldn't have done the same thing for me or any other Marine," Castle.

That fellow Marine was Dan Waggoner. He traveled from Quincy, Illinois, to see Castle receive his award.

"I'll never forget the bravery of all those men, but especially Mike when he came down and got me," Waggoner said. "I probably would not be standing here today if it wasn't for Mike Castle. He just exemplifies what the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines and all the US Marine Core is about."

It was about ten years ago Waggoner made it his mission to help give Castle the recognition Waggoner says he deserved.

"This culminates something that's very special, something that I really really wanted to do, to see this happen. All I could think about when I was watching this presentation was if Mike would have got this award when we were in Vietnam, which he should have got it then, he wouldn't have had his family and his grandkids there," Waggoner said. "This was special."

Castle hopes his story encourages others to give back.

"I hope it touched somebody and I hope in their time in their days they will try to write a letter or do something for somebody, something kind," Castle said.

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