Bill Authorizing President to Posthumously Award Medal of Honor Proposed

September 17, 2020 by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would authorize the president to posthumously award U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor.

Cashe was injured in October 2005 while deployed in Iraq when the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device and started burning. Despite injuries to himself and his exposure to enemy gunfire, Cashe repeatedly returned to the engulfed vehicle and saved many of his fellow soldiers’ lives.

“For well over a decade, there has been a painstaking effort by SFC Cashe’s family, friends, and former comrades to have his Silver Star upgraded to the Medal of Honor, which is clearly justified by the facts of this case,” Murphy said in a statement. “We were thrilled when Secretary Esper determined that SFC Cashe’s actions merit the Medal of Honor. With the introduction of this bipartisan bill today, my colleagues and I are working together to remove the one remaining technical obstacle that stands in the way of this incredible soldier receiving the recognition he earned.” 

Cashe, awarded the Silver Star for his actions, would later succumb to injuries sustained during the skirmish and was survived by his wife and children. Because of Cashe’s bravery and selflessness on the battlefield, congressional leaders previously urged U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to review Cashe’s case and upgrade his decoration to the Medal of Honor. 

In August, Esper agreed in a letter to lawmakers that Cashe’s actions warranted the Medal of Honor and that he would endorse his case to the president. Additionally, the bipartisan group is working in tandem with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to include a waiver within the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that would permit the president to upgrade Cashe’s honors as fast as possible.

“Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe 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,” Crenshaw said in a statement. “He is deserving of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award for bravery on the battlefield, and I’m proud to work with my colleagues to make sure that happens.”

The bill, introduced by Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, would slightly amend a federal law that requires the Medal of Honor to be awarded within five years of the actions that merit the award. Although Congress regularly waives this requirement, the proposed bill would negate the need for that process in Cashe’s case.

“Sergeant Cashe, under extraordinary circumstances, sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers, true to the end to the soldier’s creed,” Waltz said in a statement. “Cashe’s actions are deserving of the Medal of Honor. He is the very definition of an American hero – and I’m proud to work with my colleagues on this legislation to honor him.”

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