Waltz, Murphy, Crenshaw Introduce Bill Authorizing President to Posthumously Award Medal of Honor to Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe
Washington, September 16, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, U.S. Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) and Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) introduced a bill to authorize the President of the United States to posthumously award U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor for actions taken in Iraq on October 17, 2005.
The bill would make a technical change to federal law, which generally requires that the Medal of Honor be awarded within five years of the actions that are the basis for the award, a requirement that Congress regularly waives.
Last month, after a letter from the three Members of Congress urging careful review of SFC Cashe’s case, U.S. Department of Defense Sec. Mark Esper wrote a letter to the members, indicating he is prepared to recommend to the President that SFC Cashe be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Esper wrote he would make the recommendation should Congress make a change to a federal law requiring the Medal of Honor is awarded within five years of the actions for the basis of the award.
“After giving the nomination careful consideration, I agree that SFC Cashe’s actions merit award of the Medal of Honor,” wrote Esper. “Before we can take further action with this nomination, Congress must waive this [five-year] time limit. 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.”
“Sergeant Cashe, under extraordinary circumstances, sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers, true to the soldier’s creed to the very end,” Waltz said. “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.”
“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,” said Murphy. “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.”
SFC Cashe was raised in Oviedo, Fla. In 2005, while deployed to Iraq, Cashe saved multiple soldiers after their fighting vehicle hit an improvised explosive device and caught fire. 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 died as a result of his wounds.
In addition to introducing this standalone bill, Reps. Waltz, Murphy and Crenshaw are working closely with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to include a waiver for SFC Cashe within the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which is currently pending in Congress.
The three Members of Congress are pursuing two simultaneous lines of effort in order to maximize the chance of successfully enacting a waiver that would enable the President to award SFC Cashe the Medal of Honor as swiftly as possible.