Cpl. Kent Cagle, USMC

Today America lost a warrior, the Marine Corps lost a Brother, a family lost a loved one, and I lost one of my best friends. In the early 1980’s, Cpl. Kent Cagle honorably served his country as a United States Marine. I was proud to have served with him and call him a brother.

In 1983, the NCOIC of my shop at the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, California sent me to headquarters (Receiving) to pick up the new guy, his name was Kent Cagle. I drove over to admin, walked in and announced to a room full of newly-arrived Marines, “Which one of you is the 5982?” Kent smiled, raised his hand, and said “That’s me”. I said, then let’s go!

A 5982 is the military occupational specialty (MOS) for a computer repair technician. Our H&MS-16 shop desperately needed another 5982 to support our UNIVAC computer systems to keep the Marine Sikorsky and Boeing helicopters flying.

It didn’t take long for Kent to fit in. He had a somewhat sick sense of humor like only Marines can appreciate. He was always laughing or making the rest of us laugh about something; and, he was a good technician. We had a small tight Automated Data Processing (ADP) shop on base; a family who operated 24 hours a day to provide support to the Marine Aircraft Group (MAG-16).

Kent was passionate about many things but his love was basketball. I remember going to a Mater Dei High School basketball championship game with Kent in Santa Ana. While we were sitting midway in the stands, one might think Kent was coaching the team from up high. I’ll never forget that game only because I was so excited to see Kent’s enthusiasm for the game. When we had friendly basketball games on base with the guys, Kent would automatically be a player and a ref and he’d let nothing by without speaking up.

Whether it was impromptu trips, playing a game of Spades, video games, or working serious tech issues, Kent was always the one we wanted around us. He added value to our experiences, love to our gatherings, and support when we hurt. Kent was always there for all of us with his smile or hand on your shoulder. His smile and laugh are as visible today as they were when we were young Marines. Writing this is the toughest thing I’ve done in a long while but I’m also glad that I can help others to remember Kent; he would have done the same for me.

After 9/11, Kent, J.R., and Paul sent me flowers to express their condolences for losing one of my work colleagues in the Twin Towers. That really touched me that my Marine buddies did that for me.

J.R. Haecherl, Paul Harrington, Marcelo Quiachon, Bob Thompson, Gunny Ransome, and the rest of us will keep your memory alive! We love you Brother and we’re better because we knew you.

Kent Cagle, Marcelo Quiachon, Wally Beddoe

My heart goes out to Kent’s family, loved ones, and friends. I’m so sorry for your loss. Kent was loved so much and he loved and talked about his family and kids every time we spoke.

My good friend and Marine Roger Herman once shared the following, which I think is very fitting and would like to include it now as I remember one of my best friends, Cpl. Kent Cagle.

“I now know why men who have been to war yearn to reunite. Not to tell stories or look at old pictures. Not to laugh or weep. Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who once acted their best, men who suffered and sacrificed, who were stripped raw, right down to their humanity.

I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the U.S. Marine Corps. But I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another.

I cannot say where we are headed. Ours are not perfect friendships; those are the province of legend and myth. A few of my comrades drift far from me now, sending back only occasional word. I know that one day even these could fall to silence. Some of the men will stay close, a couple, perhaps, always at hand.

As long as I have memory, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades…..such good men. ~from “These Good Men” by Michael Norman

Semper Fi and take it easy on Chesty, let him make a basket or two when the two of you aren’t guarding the streets of Heaven.. And I’m certain Jessica is thrilled to see her Dad. R.I.P. Brother. See you some day again.

Cpl. Wally Beddoe

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  • Presley Byers

    Kent was my very favorite uncle. I’m Monica’s daughter. We went to a browns game, he was so willing to donate.I LOVE YOU UNCLE KENT!

  • MSgt Preston Caudle (J.R.) Retired

    I just found this post, Wally. I am so sorry. I didn’t know. What happened? I haven’t talked to him in years. I believe the last time I spoke with Kent was in the 90’s. I keep in touch with some of the Marines I served with, but lost track of you all a long time ago.

    Kent was like a brother to me. He was always concerned about me, and made sure I was taken care of. I arrived at 16 shortly after him, Sep 83, and you and Sgt Thompson, GySgt Ransom, SSgt Landry, Cpl Q, were all there in the old INU van. I lived with Kent in the barracks, and out at his apt. in Tustin for a while, after he and Sherri were married. Kent and I actually did the work to move 16’s shop onto the pad down at the new supply facility that they built in 84. You’re right. It was a small family, and I remember those times very fondly.

    He was a good man, and I am blessed to have known him. I pray for his family in their loss, and look forward to the day when I will see him again, and hear his familiar greeting, “Cod!”

  • Monica Cagle Byers

    Cpl. Wally Beddoe, LCPL Paul Harrington and GySgt J.R. Haecherl, Thank You, all of you have touched my heart in a very special way. As the tears fall as I read your tributes you are all so right. He was an AWESOME BROTHER.

    Thank You
    Kent’s sister
    Monica (Big Momma)

  • Paul Harrington

    For my brother…

    “To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die.”

    Like Wally, JR and Q I had the privilege of serving with Kent at MCAS Tustin. We were a exceptionally close knit group that under the USMC umbrella, formed a bond that only Marines that have served and grew to love each other can understand. Perhaps ours was a bond born not just of the Corps,but also of common country boy roots (four of our gang of five were country boys with Q being our city slicker!)

    I treasure all the wonderful times we spent together and the many happy memories I hold in my heart of Kent are precious. I smile when I think of that devilish1000 watt smile, recall that fabulous quick wit and a sense of humor that was easy to embrace. In doing so, we built friendship, love and respect that remains as much a part of each of us Kent touched as it was the day we first met or last talked.

    I last spent time with Kent after we had honorably served and had been discharged from the Marine Corps. I traveled to Ohio and spent a few days with Kent and his family. We went to Mid Ohio to the races, played some basketball like we had many times together at MCAS Tustin and just basked in the fact we were reliving our “glory days”. While we may have not talked often over the last few years, when we did connect it was as if time had stood still and we had just been together the week before.

    This past week we lost one of “our gang”. Heaven will a happier place with the sound of your laughter… Someday the gang will once again be together. Until we met again – man the fire watch and gaff off as you damn well please. Love and will deeply miss you my brother.

    Semper Fidelis.

    LCPL Paul Harrington (Harry)
    MAG-16 MCAS Tustin
    1984 – 1988

  • GySgt J.R. Haecherl (Retired)

    How hard this is to write. Wally did a great job of saying it the best, we lost a best friend, competitor, mentor and MARINE. Meeting Kent the 1st was like who in the heck is this guy. After that, it didn’t that very long to understand that midwest attitude. I’m from Illinois. Working with Kent was a great time as he was a very smart guy.
    I touching momrnt I remember is going to Jessica’s baptism. At the close, everyone started clapping and I had never seen or heard in a Cathloic church. We asked their sponsor what it was about and told it was because it was a celebration of a beautiful moment. How true it was.
    I could go on and on about the things that went on during our time at H&MS-16, but it would take a long time, but the baptism was the best.
    Kent, you will be missed but not forgotten my friend. My thoughts got out to his family, friends and love ones.

  • Tim Jones

    Wally, Its been years since we have spoken. Thanks for the kind words and sharing the exciting memories of our brother! Semper Fi!

    (Cpl, HMM-163 Tustin, CA 1982-1986)

  • trisha

    So sorry for your loss, Wally. A beautifully written tribute to an exceptional, man, a great Marine.

    Equally moving are Michael Norman’s words from “These Good Men” as shared by Roger Herman.

    RIP CPL Cagle

  • Very moving tribute! God bless Cpl. Kent Cagle, he sounds like a few Marines that I had the honor to serve with in the Corps. Some of the best people I have ever worked for/with were Marines at one time or another– “…in every climb and place.” I have been fortunate to still have my Leatherneck buddies… but we are all getting older and it is just a matter of time, this I know.

    Echo 5 Juliet, over and out. 😉

    “To observe a Marine is inspirational. To be a Marine, is exceptional.” –GySgt. Charles F. Wolf, Jr.

  • Todd Cagle

    What a awesome post..Thanks for sharing memories..