Publius / November 12, 2020

Profiles of Valor: U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe

He’s now eligible for a Medal of Honor for truly incredible heroism in Iraq in 2005.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe is finally eligible for a Medal of Honor after the Senate passed legislation this week clearing the way. Unfortunately, it is Alwyn’s family who will be receiving his posthumous award.

Serving in Iraq in October 2005, Cashe repeatedly entered his burning Bradley fighting vehicle while on fire himself to save six of his fellow soldiers. Initially awarded a Silver Star, it was only when further information regarding his heroism came to light that his commanding officer, then-Lt. Col. Gary Brito, now a three-star general, pushed for an upgrade.

According to the U.S. Army website:

The blast ignited the fuel cell on the vehicle causing fuel to spew everywhere. The vehicle came to a stop and immediately erupted in flames.

Sergeant First Class Cashe was initially slightly injured and drenched with fuel. Despite his condition, he bravely managed to get out of the gunner’s hatch, crawl down the BFV and assist the driver out of the driver’s hatch.

The driver had been burned and Sergeant First Class Cashe extinguished his flames. The following minutes were crucial. Six soldiers and a translator were in the back of the Bradley. Flames had engulfed the entire vehicle from the bottom and were coming out of every portal. The squad leader inside the vehicle managed to open the troop hatch door to help the soldiers escape.

Without regard for his personal safety, Sergeant First Class Cashe rushed to the back of the vehicle, reaching into the hot flames and started pulling out his soldiers. The flames gripped his fuel soaked uniform. Flames quickly spread all over his body.

Despite the terrible pain, Sergeant First Class Cashe placed the injured soldier on the ground and returned to the burning vehicle to retrieve another burning soldier; all the while, he was still on fire…

During all this and with severe burns, Sergeant First Class Cashe bravely continued to take control of the chaos… His injuries were the worst as he suffered from 2d and 3d degree burns over 72% of his body. Sergeant First Class Cashe’s heroic actions saved the lives of six of his beloved soldiers.

Cashe, 35, died from his injuries about three weeks later, on November 8, 2005, at a military hospital in San Antonio. “He did what he did … because he was a soldier and because he loved his men,” said Cashe’s sister, Kasinal Cashe White. “And I believe they loved him in return.”

When Cashe is awarded the Medal, he’ll be the first black recipient for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Rest in peace, and thank you for your incredible service.

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