Monday, July 4, 2022

Why Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe Just Became the First Black Medal of Honor Recipient Since 9/11 (Watch)

Kasinal Cashe White was at her brother’s bedside when the Army infantryman died in 2005 from severe burns he suffered while rescuing fellow soldiers from the flaming wreckage of their vehicle in Iraq.

Sixteen years later, her late sibling on Thursday was awarded the government’s highest military decoration for acts of valor. Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, who served in the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia, became the first Black U.S. service member to receive the Medal of Honor for actions since Sept. 11th

“My baby brother will go down in history,” White told the Ledger-Enquirer. “His name and his actions will be forever memorialized.”

Cashe suffered fatal injuries while serving in Iraq on Oct. 17, 2005, after rescuing fellow soldiers from the burning vehicle during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Salah Ad Din Province. Cashe grew up in Oviedo, Florida, and enlisted in the Army in July 1989 after graduating from Oviedo High School. He was deployed in the 1991 Gulf War and served in Korea and Germany before being deployed to Iraq in 2005 while serving as a platoon sergeant in the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning.

Asked how she feels about Cashe being the first Black soldier to receive the highest award for valor for service during the war on terror, Cashe-White said her brother “earned” the honor through his actions. Cashe was initially awarded the Silver Star, the Army’s third-highest honor for valor in combat, but his battalion commander, Lt. Gen. Gary Brito, and other officers advocated for years that Cashe deserved to be upgraded for the Medal of Honor.

Cashe’s widow, Tamara, accepted the Medal of Honor award from President Joe Biden during Thursday’s White House ceremony. Two other U.S. soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sergeant First Class Christopher A. Celiz and Master Sergeant Earl D. Plumlee, also received the award for their “conspicuous gallantry” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Watch Cashe’s story above, and Thursday’s Medal of Honor ceremony below:

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