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Waltz, Crenshaw, Murphy Urge Defense Department to Award Medal of Honor to Florida Sergeant

On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) wrote a letter urging the U.S. Department of Defense to consider awarding the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe, a war hero who grew up in Oviedo, Florida.

The bipartisan letter sent to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy cited SFC Cashe’s extraordinary heroism and self-sacrifice as the basis for Cashe’s Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, the highest award for military valor.

The three members sent the letter on the 14th anniversary of Cashe’s heroic actions in Iraq which resulted in his death.

The Department of Defense is conducting a review of valor medals that were awarded in conflicts occurring after September 11, 2001 and multiple medals have been upgraded as a result of this review.

“We write to respectfully request that you carefully consider the case of Sergeant First Class Alwyn Crendall Cashe, who earned the Silver Star for his actions in Iraq on October 17, 2005. SFC Cashe saved the lives of multiple soldiers but suffered severe burns in the process and ultimately died from those burns. SFC Cashe has become something of a legend in military circles, the object of profound respect and even reverence,” wrote Waltz, Crenshaw and Murphy in their letter.

BACKGROUND

In 2005, while deployed to Iraq, SFC Cashe saved multiple soldiers after their fighting vehicle hit an improvised explosive device and caught fire. SFC Cashe returned to the burning vehicle again and again to pull his soldiers out of the flames, all while he himself was on fire and exposed to incoming enemy gunfire. He later passed away as a result of his wounds.

Reps. Crenshaw and Waltz together offered a successful floor amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act this year expressing their support for SFC Cashe’s Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

“Each of us was deeply moved upon learning of SFC Cashe’s heroism. We believe that SFC Cashe has earned the highest award for military valor that our nation bestows, and we hope you will ensure that his case is scrutinized with the utmost care,” concluded the Members.

Waltz, Crenshaw and Murphy each have backgrounds in national security. Waltz served as a Green Beret, Crenshaw served as an officer in United States Navy SEALs and Murphy served as a national security specialist at the Department of Defense.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Secretary Esper and Secretary McCarthy:

Each of us proudly served in the United States military or worked at the Department of Defense. In addition, each of us cares about the process our nation uses to award medals for military valor, believing this process should satisfy the most rigorous standards of independence and integrity. Finally, each of us recognizes and respects that the Medal of Honor should be conferred upon only a servicemember whose combat performance demonstrated “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty.”

We are aware that the Department is conducting a multi-year review of valor medals that were awarded in conflicts occurring after September 11, 2001. We understand from public reporting that, as a result of this review, approximately 60 awards have been upgraded, including a number of awards that were upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

We write to respectfully request that you carefully consider the case of Sergeant First Class Alwyn Crendall Cashe, who earned the Silver Star for his actions in Iraq on October 17, 2005. We will not use this occasion to recount SFC Cashe’s actions in detail, but they nearly defy description. In summary, after his unit’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, SFC Cashe—who was thrown from the vehicle and virtually unharmed—returned again and again to the burning vehicle to extract his fellow soldiers. SFC Cashe saved the lives of multiple soldiers, but suffered severe burns in the process and ultimately died from those burns. SFC Cashe has become something of a legend in military circles, the object of profound respect and even reverence.  

Each of us was deeply moved upon learning of SFC Cashe’s heroism. We have tried to honor him to the greatest extent possible, consistent with our position as Members of Congress. One of us (Congresswoman Murphy) secured the passage of legislation to name a federal building in Oviedo, Florida after SFC Cashe, who was raised in the city. Two of us (Congressman Crenshaw and Congressman Waltz) offered a successful floor amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act expressing support for SFC Cashe’s Silver Star to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

We believe that SFC Cashe has earned the highest award for military valor that our nation bestows, and we hope you will ensure that his case is scrutinized with the utmost care.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Murphy                                                                           

Member of Congress

Dan Crenshaw

Member of Congress                                                                            

Michael Waltz

Member of Congress

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