The passing of the buck has gone on long enough. It is time for the White House to award the family of Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor (MOH). The process to award the very deserving Cashe the MOH has dragged on far too long.
Cashe’s posthumous Silver Star Medal was put in for an upgrade. It dragged through Congress for a waiver, as the five-year limit for an upgrade was long past, before finally being signed by then-President Trump in December 2020.
An Unexplained Delay
However, after the January 6 Capitol takeover fiasco, the White House decided that the ceremony should wait until President Biden’s inauguration. And while the Biden administration was busy in its first few days signing a bevy of executive orders, mostly to undo much of what had taken place during the Trump term, the Cashe medal sat.
Most of the military committee responsible for the award thought the president was going to award it on the country’s National Medal of Honor Day, which fell on March 25. But only crickets were heard from the White House. His family, as quoted by other media outlets, was also expecting it to happen then.
President Biden’s first 100 days passed and still nothing. It was said that the COVID-19 Stimulus Bill had to get passed. Now that it has passed we are still waiting for Cashe to get his due recognition.
The 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, GA is also waiting for the White House to get off their fourth point of contact. As soon as Cashe’s family gets his award, they are going to rename their ceremonial area after SFC Cashe.
The division announced it will rename the Marne Garden outside its headquarters at Fort Stewart, Georgia, to the Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe Garden back in May.
A spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division said, “Memorializing soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice is a time-honored tradition in the Army. Cashe’s story is one known by soldiers throughout the Army and epitomizes a true warrior’s spirit. As a soldier and leader, he personified the ‘not fancy, just tough’ spirit of the 3rd ID ‘Dogface’ soldiers.”
Alwyn Cashe’s Heroic Actions in Iraq
On October 17, 2005, U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class (SFC) Alwyn C. Cashe, was on a combat patrol in Samarra, Iraq. As an Alpha Company platoon sergeant from Forward Operating Base McKenzie, adjacent to Diyala, SFC Cashe was in the lead Bradley Fighting Vehicle when it struck a roadside Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The vehicle’s fuel cell ruptured, instantly covering Cashe in fuel. His vehicle came to a stop and immediately erupted in flames. While under small arms fire, SFC Cashe managed to escape through the Bradley gunner’s hatch and assisted the driver with his egress. The flames gripped Cashe’s fuel-soaked uniform and quickly spread all over his body.
Despite the terrible pain, Sergeant First Class Cashe placed the injured driver on the ground and extinguished the driver’s burning clothes. He returned to the burning vehicle to retrieve another burning soldier. All the while, he was still on fire. He then moved to the back of the Bradley to pull more of his soldiers from the flames.
Sgt. Gary Mills was on fire, his hands so badly burned that he couldn’t open the rear troop door to free himself and the other soldiers trapped inside the flaming vehicle. Cashe opened the door from outside grabbing Mills and yanking him to safety. Within seconds, Cashe ran back to the flames and crawled into the vehicle to haul out the platoon’s critically burned medic.
SFC Alwyn Cashe kept going back into that vehicle even after his uniform had ignited, and flames had severely burned most of his body. He got all of his soldiers out.
Cashe died a few weeks later on November 8 at the Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas. At the time, he was awarded a Silver Star Medal. He was 35 years old and hailed from Oviedo, Florida.
It Is Due Time That Alwyn Chase Receives the Medal of Honor
No one seems to want to give a reason for the holdup for Cashe’s MOH. Abbie R. Bennett, who until recently wrote for Connecting Vets, went on a fruitless search for the answer in March. She wrote to the White House who referred her to the Pentagon, which in turn referred her to the Army. The Army then told her to ask the White House.
Meanwhile, time continues to pass. In three months, it will be 16 years since the fateful day that Cashe sacrificed himself for the soldiers under his command. Not only is it long enough, but it has also been far too long. The president needs to act. And inviting the family to the White House a week from today on the Fourth of July would be perfect timing to get this done.
Make it happen, Mr. President…