President Donald Trump has signed into law a bipartisan bill authorizing a Medal of Honor for fallen U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe for his actions in Iraq on October 17, 2005.
The bill (H.R. 8276), introduced by Florida Congress members Stephanie Murphy and Michael Waltz as well as U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, waives a federal law that requires the Medal of Honor to be awarded within five years of the actions taken to earn it.
“America can never fully repay the ultimate debt paid by our heroes like Alwyn Cashe—but what we can do is honor them for their sacrifices,” Waltz said in a news release. “This is a monumental accomplishment for Alwyn’s family, who have waited 15 years for this moment.”
Cashe saved the lives of multiple soldiers while deployed to Iraq about 15 years ago. After their vehicle was hit with an explosive device and caught on fire, Cashe continued to pull soldiers out of the burning vehicle despite being engulfed in flames himself and exposed to gunfire. He later died from his wounds.
Cashe was born in Sanford, Florida, and raised in Oviedo, both of which are in Murphy’s congressional district.
“Now that we have enacted bipartisan legislation to remove the only obstacle standing in the way of Alwyn receiving the Medal of Honor, which the Department of Defense has already concluded he earned, I hope the President will move swiftly to announce the award,” Murphy said in a news release. “The story of Alwyn’s heroism has inspired so many people and I cannot wait for the day that his family will receive the nation’s highest award for combat valor on his behalf.”
The bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in September and by the U.S. Senate in November.
Now that Trump has signed the bill into law, the Department of Defense can formally recommend to the President that he award Cashe the Medal of Honor. Upon receiving this recommendation, the President has the sole authority to award the Medal of Honor.
“I applaud President Trump for signing our bill into law, recognizing Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe for his bravery in risking his own life to save his fellow soldiers,” Crenshaw said in a news release. “He is deserving of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award for bravery on the battlefield, and now he is finally receiving proper recognition for his bravery and sacrifice.”