U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for actions taken in Iraq on October 17, 2005, the White House has announced. A formal ceremony to honor SFC Cashe and to present the Medal of Honor to his family will take place on December 16, 2021.
On October 17, 2005, while deployed to Iraq, SFC Cashe saved the lives of multiple soldiers after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device and caught fire. SFC Cashe repeatedly returned to the burning vehicle to pull his soldiers out of the flames, all while he himself was on fire and exposed to enemy gunfire. He later passed away from his wounds, earning the Silver Star for his actions.
The announcement was made possible by the enactment of a bill authored by U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Michael Waltz, which exempted Cashe from a federal law that requires a Medal of Honor to be awarded within five years of the actions that give rise to the award. Both Representatives hailed the announcement from the White House.
“I am overjoyed that Alwyn Cashe is being awarded the Medal of Honor. I wish this amazing man were alive to receive it himself,” said Rep. Murphy. “I am so happy for his family and fellow soldiers who fought for years to ensure that Alwyn received the recognition he earned. This nation is beyond grateful for his service and ultimate sacrifice.”
Upon learning of SFC Cashe’s story, Murphy introduced and secured passage of legislation naming a federal building in Cashe’s hometown of Oviedo, Florida, after the late soldier, and a formal dedication ceremony was held in May 2019.
“America can never fully repay the ultimate debt paid by our heroes like Alwyn Cashe—the best we can do is bestow the nation’s highest honor. This is a monumental accomplishment for the entire Cashe family, who has waited 16 years for this moment,” said Rep. Waltz. “Alwyn, without a doubt, is worthy of the Medal of Honor—and I’m so proud to see him recognized appropriately for his heroism and acts of valor.”
In October 2019, Murphy and Waltz, along with Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, urging him to review SFC Cashe’s case and expressing their view that Cashe’s actions merited an upgrade from the Silver Star to the Medal of Honor. In August 2020, the Secretary responded, agreeing that Cashe should receive the Medal of Honor, but noting that Congress needed to enact legislation to waive the five-year time limit. Murphy introduced a bill to waive the time limit shortly thereafter. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill in September 2020, the U.S. Senate approved the bill in November of that year, and the President signed it into law last December, paving the way for today’s announcement.