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Murphy, Crenshaw, Waltz Urge the Defense Department to Award Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor

On the anniversary of the soldier’s heroic actions, bipartisan group sends letter supporting upgrade of Cashe’s Silver Star to the nation’s highest award for valor

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Washington, October 17, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTON—Today U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla., urged the U.S. Department of Defense to consider awarding the Medal of Honor to Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe, a war hero who grew up in Oviedo, Fla., which is in Murphy’s congressional district. In a bipartisan letter sent to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, the three Members of Congress cited SFC Cashe’s extraordinary heroism and self-sacrifice as the basis for Cashe’s Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, which is the highest award our nation bestows for military valor. Today is the 14th anniversary of SFC Cashe’s heroic actions in Iraq that resulted in his death.

The Department of Defense is conducting a review of valor medals that were awarded in conflicts occurring after September 11, 2001, and multiple medals have been upgraded as a result of this review.

“We write to respectfully request that you carefully consider the case of Sergeant First Class Alwyn Crendall Cashe, who earned the Silver Star for his actions in Iraq on Oct. 17, 2005. SFC Cashe saved the lives of multiple soldiers, but suffered severe burns in the process and ultimately died from those burns. SFC Cashe has become something of a legend in military circles, the object of profound respect and even reverence,” wrote Murphy, Crenshaw, and Waltz in their letter.

In 2005, while deployed to Iraq, SFC Cashe saved multiple soldiers after their fighting vehicle hit an improvised explosive device and caught fire. SFC Cashe returned to the burning vehicle again and again to pull his soldiers out of the flames, all the while he himself was on fire and exposed to incoming enemy gunfire. He later passed away as a result of his wounds.

Last year, the President  signed into law legislation  authored by Murphy to dedicate a U.S. post office in Oviedo, Fla., in SFC Cashe’s honor. Earlier this year, Murphy held a special dedication ceremony in Oviedo that was attended by SFC Cashe’s family and friends, and veterans from across central Florida. Reps. Crenshaw and Waltz together offered a successful floor amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act this year expressing their support for SFC Cashe’s Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

“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.

Murphy, Crenshaw, and Waltz all have national security backgrounds. Murphy served as a national security specialist at the Department of Defense, Crenshaw served as an officer in United States Navy SEALs, and Waltz served as an officer in the U.S. Army Special Forces.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Secretary Esper and Secretary McCarthy:

Each of us proudly served in the United States military or worked at the Department of Defense. In addition, each of us cares about the process our nation uses to award medals for military valor, believing this process should satisfy the most rigorous standards of independence and integrity. Finally, each of us recognizes and respects that the Medal of Honor should be conferred upon only a servicemember whose combat performance demonstrated “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty.”

We are aware that the Department is conducting a multi-year review of valor medals that were awarded in conflicts occurring after September 11, 2001. We understand from public reporting that, as a result of this review, approximately 60 awards have been upgraded, including a number of awards that were upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

We write to respectfully request that you carefully consider the case of Sergeant First Class Alwyn Crendall Cashe, who earned the Silver Star for his actions in Iraq on October 17, 2005. We will not use this occasion to recount SFC Cashe’s actions in detail, but they nearly defy description. In summary, after his unit’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, SFC Cashe—who was thrown from the vehicle and virtually unharmed—returned again and again to the burning vehicle to extract his fellow soldiers. SFC Cashe saved the lives of multiple soldiers, but suffered severe burns in the process and ultimately died from those burns. SFC Cashe has become something of a legend in military circles, the object of profound respect and even reverence.

Each of us was deeply moved upon learning of SFC Cashe’s heroism. We have tried to honor him to the greatest extent possible, consistent with our position as Members of Congress. One of us (Congresswoman Murphy) secured the passage of legislation to name a federal building in Oviedo, Florida after SFC Cashe, who was raised in the city. Two of us (Congressman Crenshaw and Congressman Waltz) offered a successful floor amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act expressing support for SFC Cashe’s Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

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.


Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Murphy
Member of Congress


Dan Crenshaw
Member of Congress

Michael Waltz

Member of Congress

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