The White House announced Friday that three soldiers will be awarded the Medal of Honor, including one whose family had been fighting to see him recognized for 15 years.
The Biden Administration will award the Medals of Honor to Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe, Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee, and Sergeant First Class Christopher Celiz next Thursday, December 16.
Cashe saved fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq in 2005, Plumlee fought off the enemy ambushing his Special Forces team in Afghanistan in 2013, and Celiz took fire to protect a helicopter evacuating wounded soldiers in Afghanistan in 2018.
Cashe’s case has received widespread attention, in part due to a decade-long battle to get him recognized by his former commander, fellow soldiers and veterans, and members of Congress across the political spectrum.
In 2005, while Cashe and his platoon were conducting a patrol, their Bradley Fighting Vehicle hit a roadside bomb, igniting the vehicle on fire. Cashe managed to exit, but came back repeatedly to drag his men out, despite becoming engulfed in flames himself.
He his first words in the hospital were to inquire about his men.
Cashe will be the first African American recipient of the award in the second Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, but his older sister has emphasized this has nothing to do with race.
“I won’t allow anybody to make it a race thing because he did what he did not because he was black,” Kasinal Cashe White told reporters last year. “He did what he did because he was a soldier and loved his men. And they loved him in return. They reciprocated that.”
Since the statute of limitations for the Medal of Honor had passed, Congress first had to pass a law to extend it, and the Trump administration approved it, but was not able to schedule a ceremony before its end in office.