WASHINGTON—U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., today sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, urging him to formally recommend to the President that he posthumously award the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe for actions taken in Iraq on October 17, 2005.
In August, the previous Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, sent a letter to the three Members of Congress, stating that the Department of Defense had concluded that “SFC Cashe’s actions merit award of the Medal of Honor.” At the same time, the Secretary of Defense informed the three Members that Congress needed to enact legislation to waive the five-year time limit that typically applies to such awards. The Secretary of Defense concluded: “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.”
Upon receiving this letter, Reps. Murphy, Waltz and Crenshaw swiftly introduced legislation, H.R. 8276, to waive the five-year time limit and pave the way for SFC Cashe to receive the Medal of Honor. The bill was unanimously passed by the House and the Senate and is expected to be signed by the President in the coming days.
“Once H.R. 8276 is signed into law, we respectfully request that you, on behalf of the Department of Defense, swiftly provide your endorsement to the President. We recognize and respect that the final award authority for the Medal of Honor rests solely with the President,” wrote the Members of Congress.
On October 17, 2005, while deployed to Iraq, SFC Cashe saved the lives of multiple soldiers after their Bradley 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.
The full text of the letter can be found here and below.
November 17, 2020
The Honorable Chris Miller
Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon, Room 3E880
Washington, DC 201310-1000
Dear Acting Secretary Miller:
We write regarding the late Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe, whose well-documented heroism in Iraq on October 17, 2005 led to him being posthumously awarded the Silver Star. There has been a years-long campaign to get SFC Cashe’s Silver Star upgraded to the Medal of Honor.
On October 17, 2019, we wrote a letter to then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, expressing our view that SFC Cashe earned the highest award for military valor that our nation bestows, and asking that his case be scrutinized with the utmost care. On August 24, 2020, the Secretary formally responded to our letter. He wrote:
After giving the nomination careful consideration, I agree that SFC Cashe’s actions merit award of the Medal of Honor. However, 10 U.S.C. § 7274 requires that the Medal of Honor be awarded “within five years after the date of the act justifying the award.” Before we can take further action with this nomination, Congress must waive this 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. The final award authority for the Medal of Honor rests solely with the President.
On September 16, 2020, we introduced H.R. 8276, which waived the five-year time limit with respect to SFC Cashe and thereby authorized the President to award SFC Cashe the Medal of Honor. The bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous consent on September 22, 2020. The bill was approved by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent on November 10, 2020. The bill will soon be presented to the President for his signature.
Once H.R. 8276 is signed into law, we respectfully request that you, on behalf of the Department of Defense, swiftly provide your endorsement to the President. We recognize and respect that the final award authority for the Medal of Honor rests solely with the President.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Member of Congress