Sept. 23 (UPI) — A House bill passed on Tuesday brings Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, who died in 2005 after sustaining injuries in Iraq, a step closer to the Medal of Honor.
The bill, which passed the House on Tuesday by unanimous consent, was filed after Defense Secretary Mark Esper wrote on Aug. 24 that Cashe should receive an upgrade from the Silver Star he received, for his actions in Iraq in 2005, to the Medal of Honor.
Cashe pulled six fellow soldiers and their Afghan interpreter from a burning armored vehicle after a roadside bomb explosion, and later died in a Texas hospital, with third-degree burns on 72 percent of his body.
Cashe, from Oviedo, Fla., would be the first Black recipient of the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We are one step closer to ensuring that Alwyn Cashe receives the Medal of Honor he earned,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., one of four sponsors on the bill, said in a statement on Tuesday.
In addition to Murphy, the bill was sponsored by Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas.
“His bravery in the face of danger has inspired so many already, and this is a significant step forward to properly recognize him for his heroism,” said Waltz.
The bill waives the federally mandated time of five years between the award, the country’s highest military honor for valor, and the actions which prompted it. The rule is frequently waived but it takes a concerted effort by members of Congress to guide an exemption.
The sponsoring members have begun coordinating their efforts with Senate members, who must also approve the waiver before the president can officially award the honor.
“He is deserving of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award for bravery on the battlefield, and we urge that the Senate quickly follow suit and pass our bill to make sure that happens,” Crenshaw said.