On the 14th anniversary of IED, congressmen ask DOD to award Medal of Honor to Alwyn Cashe

Michelle Dolge
October 17, 2019 - 3:01 pm
On July 19, the 81st Regional Support Command, hosted a memorialization ceremony in Sanford, Fla., and renamed the Army Reserve Center in memory of Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe

Photo by Sgt. Shantelle Campbell

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Fourteen years ago today, on October 17, 2005 in Samarra, Iraq, after an IED exploded under his Bradley Fighting Vehicle, igniting him and everyone inside on fire, Sergeant 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, climbed back into the fiery vehicle to pull out one of his buddies. 

When he got him out, he did it again. 

When he got that soldier out, he did it again.  His own uniform had been burned away, leaving only his helmet, body armor and boots.  Cashe was burned over 90% of hid body.  But that didn't matter. 

He did it again.

Cashe pulled out 6 soldiers and an interpreter that day.   Depite his injuries, he walked away from the fire on his own.

Of the seven men he rescued that day, 5 eventually died.  And so did Cashe, three weeks later.  They were all in rooms next to each other at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.   He told his family that he wanted them all to be able to say goodbye to their families and make peace with their God.

Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, in an undated photo
Photo courtesy: US Army

For his actions, Cashe was awarded the Silver Star.

But why not the Medal of Honor?

Thursday, three congressmembers - two of them military veterans - sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mike Esper and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, extolling the reasons that Cashe -- of all people -- deserves the Medal of Honor.  

Calling SFE Cashe "somewhat of a legend in military circles, the object of profound respect and even reverence," Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) asked that, as DoD re-evaluates valor medals for the post 9/11 conflicts, they reconsider Cashe for the Medal of Honor, the highest honor of valor.

The letter was sent on the 14th anniversary of the attack.

“Each of us was deeply moved upon learning of SFC Cashe’s heroism. We believe that SFC Cashe has earned the highest award for military valor that our nation bestows, and we hope you will ensure that his case is scrutinized with the utmost care,” concluded the members.

The congressmembers are certainly not the first to push for a Medal of Honor for Cashe.

After reading stories of SFE Cashe's heroics, a veteran in Florida has started a Facebook page dedicated to it.

There's a Change.org page with over 27,000 signatures on it to upgrade the award.

Brig. Gen. Gary Brito, was Cashe's battalion commander when the attack happened.  He was the one who recommended him for the Silver Star, but he now says he did not understand the extent of valor, pain and suffering Cashe went through.  He, too, has fought for the award to be upgraded.

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