Alwyn Cashe becomes first recipient of the War on Terrorism Black Service Medal of Honor

President Biden will award the Medal of Honor to Sgt. First Class Alwyn C. Cashe, who would become the first black serviceman to receive the country’s highest medal for bravery in combat for events during the War on Terror.

Why is this important: Cashe will be honored alongside two other soldiers who have shown “remarkable bravery” during their deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq, the White House said on Friday.

  • The ceremony, which will take place on December 16, honors soldiers who risked their lives “beyond the call of duty” in service to the United States.

Details: Cashe will receive the medal posthumously for saving his teammates from a burning vehicle during a 2005 attack in Iraq.

  • Former President Donald Trump enacted the Annual Defense Policy Bill in December 2020, which included a provision removing the five-year limit between approval and “extraordinary acts of valor” for Cashe and three others.
  • In each case, the Secretary of Defense still had to approve and the President still had to authorize the receipt of the medal.

Staff Sgt. Earl D. Plumlee, a green beret, initially received the Silver Star in 2015 for hiring insurgents wearing uncovered suicide vests to clear a breach in the base’s perimeter wall in Afghanistan.

  • The slightest acknowledgment sparked an investigation in which the Pentagon’s office of the Inspector General reviewed the decision-making process of the three-member council.
  • Senior officials at the Defense Ministry were also divided over the decision. Army Times reported in June 2016 that Naval General Joseph Dunford, who became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Mark Milley, who would replace Dunford, had supported the Department of Health title.
  • Meanwhile, former Secretary of the Army John McHugh and former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno backed the resolve of the board.

Sgt. First Class Christopher A. Celiz, an Army Ranger, will also receive the Ministry of Health for voluntarily exposing himself to Taliban fire in Afghanistan in 2018 in order to use a heavy weapons system that would disrupt future attacks on Afghans.

  • He died of his injuries that day.


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