WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate today approved a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla., to authorize the President of the United States to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe for actions he took in Iraq on October 17, 2005. The bill, H.R. 8276, would waive a federal law that generally requires a Medal of Honor to be awarded within five years of the actions that form the basis for the award. The bill, which previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on September 22, will now be transmitted to the President to be signed into law. Once the President signs H.R. 8276, the Department of Defense will be in a position to formally recommend to the President that he award SFC Cashe the Medal of Honor.
“I am so grateful the Senate passed our bill to pave the way for the President to award Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor,” said Murphy. “We are now very close to recognizing this unbelievably heroic soldier, who died saving his men, with our nation’s highest award for combat valor—which he earned beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
“We are one step closer to properly recognizing Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe for his bravery in risking his own life to save his fellow soldiers,” said Crenshaw. “He is deserving of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award for bravery on the battlefield, and we urge President Trump to quickly sign our bill into law to make sure that happens.”
“It’s not every day you read an extraordinary story like Alwyn Cashe’s,” Waltz said. “His bravery in the face of danger has inspired so many already—and this is a significant step forward to properly recognize him for his heroism. I’m incredibly proud to see both sides of the aisle, in the House and the Senate, come together to honor Cashe’s legacy and award him the Medal of Honor.”
Reps. Murphy, Crenshaw, and Waltz filed their bill following an August 24, 2020 letter that the Secretary of Defense sent to them, responding to an October 2019 letter he received from the three Members of Congress. The Members had asked senior Pentagon leaders to review SFC Cashe’s case and expressed their view that SFC Cashe’s actions warranted an upgrade from the Silver Star to the Medal of Honor. In his response, the Secretary of Defense stated: “After giving the nomination careful consideration, I agree that SFC Cashe’s actions merit award of the Medal of Honor.” The Secretary added: “Before we can take further action with this nomination, Congress must waive this [five-year] time limit. Once legislation is enacted authorizing the President of the United States to award, if he so chooses, the Medal of Honor to SFC Cashe, I will provide my endorsement to the President.”
On October 17, 2005, while deployed to Iraq, SFC Cashe saved the lives of multiple soldiers after their fighting 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.
SFC Cashe was born in Sanford, Fla. and raised in Oviedo, Fla., both of which are located in Murphy’s congressional district. To see Rep. Murphy speak on the House floor about SFC Cashe, click here and here.