12/04/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/04/2020 20:01
WASHINGTON-President Donald J. Trump today signed into law a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., to authorize U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe to posthumously receive the Medal of Honor for actions taken in Iraq on October 17, 2005. The bill, H.R. 8276, waives a federal law that requires a Medal of Honor to be awarded within five years of the actions that give rise to the award. The bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in September and by the U.S. Senate in November.
Now that the President has signed the bill into law, the Department of Defense is in a position to formally recommend to the President that he award SFC Cashe the Medal of Honor. Recently, Murphy, Waltz and Crenshaw wrote to Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, urging him to make this recommendation to the President. Upon receiving this recommendation, the President has the sole authority to award the Medal of Honor.
'Now that we have enacted bipartisan legislation to remove the only obstacle standing in the way of Alwyn receiving the Medal of Honor, which the Department of Defense has already concluded he earned, I hope the President will move swiftly to announce the award,' said Murphy. 'The story of Alwyn's heroism has inspired so many people and I cannot wait for the day that his family will receive the nation's highest award for combat valor on his behalf.'
'America can never fully repay the ultimate debt paid by our heroes like Alwyn Cashe-but what we can do is honor them for their sacrifices. This is a monumental accomplishment for Alwyn's family, who have waited 15 years for this moment,' said Waltz. 'I'm very optimistic the Department of Defense will recommend this award. I'm very grateful and proud to have been part of this bipartisan effort-and I'm looking forward to the ceremony at the White House to bestow this great honor to Alwyn and show our nation's profound gratitude to his family for his selfless act of courage.'
'I applaud President Trump for signing our bill into law, 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 now he is finally receiving proper recognition for his bravery and sacrifice.'
In August, the previous Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, sent a letter to Reps. Murphy, Waltz, and Crenshaw, stating that the Department of Defense had concluded that 'SFC Cashe's actions merit award of the Medal of Honor.' In the same letter, the Secretary of Defense informed the three Members that Congress needed to enact legislation to waive the five-year time limit. The Secretary wrote: '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, Rep. Murphy introduced H.R. 8276.
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.