Columbus, Ga (WRBL) – On October 2005, Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle and his soldiers were attacked in Iraq. While the vehicle was on fire SFC Cashe showed incredible courage and valor and rescued six of his soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter. After everyone was rescued SFC Cashe suffered severe burns on over 70 percent of his body. In November of that year, SFC Cashe died from his injuries while he was in the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
President Joe Biden posthumously awarded SFC Cashe the Medal of Honor to his family in November 2020. His medal is on display in the National Infantry Museum. SFC Cashe is actually the first African American recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Martin Celestine Jr., the Vice President of Operations for the National Infantry Museum, talked about the significance of SFC Cashe winning this award.
“Well, it’s significant in the fact that it’s not something that you set out to do. Right. And it proves to the fact that regardless of race, gender, race, the acts of valor, something that just come to someone. So I think what it means to myself is a sense of pride, because this is a real human being. Right? But we could look back and see, man, this is a homegrown real American hero,” said Celestine.
Celestine, a 30 year Army veteran, knew SFC Cashe personally during his time in service. He made it a priority to preserve Cashe’s memory and he credited Cashe’s family to keep his memory alive.
“Well, first of all, I’m extremely grateful and thankful to his spouse and helping us honor his legacy. So this museum serves as a platform for higher learning. And every soldier that comes through here. An infantry soldier will have an opportunity to see someone that took those same steps as them. So for the medal being here, I tell you, it’s a way of preserving his legacy,” said Celestine.
SFC Cashe winning the Medal of Honor also is a significant time in Black History.
“That’s extremely important because it speaks to the diversity and fairness across the board in the military. It wasn’t without work. This act of valor took place in 2005, and 15 years later he was awarded that award. It got upgraded. It really speaks to the people that support you. It speaks to not letting one’s memory die on the vine,” said Celestine.
SFC Cashe is survived by his spouse Tamara Cashe and his three children. His Medal of Honor is currently in display at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia.