FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Fayetteville and military community is mourning the death of a history maker.
Cosmas D. Eaglin Sr. Eaglin died Aug. 15. He was 108 years old, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NCDMVA) announced Monday.
"I am grateful for Mr. Eaglin's dedication and service to our country. He and his fellow Montford Point Marines defended our freedom against fascism in World War II and set an example at home that helped lead the progress toward racial equality that our country has made over the last 80 years," said Gov. Roy Cooper. "We owe so much to the brave men and women who have served our armed services and we honor Cosmas Eaglin Sr.'s service and memory today."
Eaglin's storied military career
According to NCDMVA, Eaglin joined the United States Marine Corps (USMC) when he was 27. He completed training in Montford Point and served two years in the Solomon Islands campaign during the Pacific War in World War II.
After WWII, Eaglin left the Marine Corps but returned to active-duty service. He joined the US Army during the Korean War era and earned his paratrooper wings.
In 1951, Eaglin was assigned to Fort Bragg. He and his family made Fayetteville their permanent home.
During the 1960s, Eaglin served in the Vietnam War, NCDMVA said.
"Mr. Eaglin leaves a legacy of commitment, integrity, and lifelong service," said Walter E. Gaskin, Lt. Gen., USMC Ret., Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "His life changed the world for the better and we are forever grateful for all the sacrifices he and his family have made for freedom and equality. He endured unimaginable obstacles in the segregated Marine Corps. I will always remember and admire his strength, resilience, and we honor his service to our country with appreciation for the inspiration he instilled in all of us."
Eaglin leaves behind six children, seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He and his family have been part of the St. Ann Catholic Church community in Fayetteville for 72 years.