President Donald Trump is poised to award the first Medal of Honor to a black veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe.
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) announced Friday that he, along with Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), received a letter from Pentagon Secretary Mark Esper agreeing that Cashe deserves to have his Silver Star upgraded to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest combat award for valor for his heroism in October 2005.
Cashe was deployed to Iraq in 2005 when his fighting vehicle hit an improvised explosive device and caught fire. Cashe escaped the vehicle but returned repeated times to pull soldiers out of the flames, while he himself caught on fire and was exposed to enemy gunfire. Cashe later died of his wounds.
Veterans on the right and the left have long pushed for his Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, but it will not be until the Trump administration where it will likely now happen.
Esper said in the letter that he reviewed a proposal by Waltz, Murphy, and Crenshaw to upgrade Cashe’s Silver Star and agreed that his actions merit award of the Medal of Honor.
Esper said that since the award must be awarded within five years after the date of the act justifying the award, Congress will need to first waive the limit. After that, he will provide his endorsement to Trump, and then the “final award authority” rests solely with the president.
Breitbart News reached out to the White House for comment but has not received a response. However, it is unlikely that Trump will not decide to award Cashe the Medal of Honor.
Waltz and Crenshaw already offered a successful floor amendment to the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to waive the statute of limitations for Cashe’s Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.
“Alwyn Cashe’s extraordinary courage on behalf of his fellow soldiers, in the face of danger and death, embodies everything the Medal of Honor represents,” said Waltz.
“Cashe is a Florida and American hero. He without a doubt deserves our nation’s highest honor — and I’m very glad Secretary Esper and our Department of Defense agree and recognize his heroic actions. Now Congress needs to act to waive the five-year statute of limitations and allow the Department of Defense’s recommendation to move forward and proceed to the President to give final approval,” he added.
Murphy said in a statement, “Alwyn was a hero in the purest and most profound sense. He gave his own life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.”
“I am overjoyed that the Secretary of Defense has determined that SFC Cashe’s actions merit the Medal of Honor, a conclusion I strongly share. I will work with my colleagues to swiftly grant the President the authority he needs to provide this valiant soldier with the recognition he earned,” she said.
Crenshaw added, “Heroes are all around us but certain heroes stand out. One of those heroes is Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe. Alwyn Cashe’s actions saved his men’s lives. He risked his own life as he pulled them out of a flaming Bradley Fighting Vehicle and went back – again and again.”
“From Secretary Esper’s statement, we are poised to fully recognize the full extent of his heroism by finally awarding him the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award for bravery on the battlefield,” he said. “He is a hero and his story is one all Americans should know so we can look upon his example and aspire to the example he displayed.”