Sergeant First Class Alwyn C. Cashe pulled six soldiers from the burning hulk of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, while himself on fire and under fire from insurgents who set the ambush. He willingly sacrificed his life to rescue his fellow soldiers.
On October 17, 2005, SFC Cashe manned the turret of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle when it hit an IED. The bomb ignited a fuel cell on board, engulfing the vehicle in flames and showering the crew with fuel. SFC Cashe left his hatch unharmed, but drenched in fuel. At the front of the vehicle, the driver sat in his hatch surrounded in fire. Cashe yanked the driver out to the ground and extinguished the flames on his body. As he worked, enemy rounds cracked overhead and impacted around the vehicle in a complex ambush. Ignoring the gunfire, Cashe saw the troop hatch at the rear of the vehicle open. Smoke and flame poured out of the inner compartment, still occupied by 7 soldiers. Cashe ran to the opening and reached inside. His soaked uniform ignited as he pulled soldiers to safety. He returned inside the vehicle a second time, bringing more soldiers out. By the third time SFC Cashe entered the Bradley, his entire uniform burned on his body. More Bradleys arrived shortly after the explosion. Despite suffering 2nd and 3rd degree burns over more than 70% of his body, Cashe refused medical evacuation until all his soldiers were treated first. Six soldiers lived as a direct result of his actions.
Cashe returned to the US for treatment, and passed away from his burns three weeks later in November 2005. For his selfless actions, knowing exactly what the consequences could be, SFC Cashe was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. The medal is currently being contested, and the case being made for an upgrade to the Medal of Honor. Cashe was a veteran of the Gulf War and two combat deployments in Iraq. He was 35 years old at the time of his death.
We honor you, Alwyn Cashe.