Will you support an extraordinary American?

There is a man, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn C. Cashe, who richly deserves the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for valor in combat against an enemy. I am asking for your help to petition on his behalf.
Russ Vaugn recently wrote about the events in Iraq in 2005. Before he deployed, SFC Cashe’s sister heard him say he would never leave one of his soldiers behind, and she scolded him not to be a hero, to learn to duck and come home. He told her, “… I have to take care of my boys.”
On Oct. 17 that year an enemy roadside bomb was detonated beside his Bradley Fighting Vehicle on a patrol near Samara in Iraq. Thrown from the vehicle and soaked in fuel from the ruptured fuel tank, SFC Cashe forced his way back inside the burning vehicle to rescue his men. With his uniform on fire he went back into the burning vehicle again and again, carrying out all six of his men. In the end his uniform was gone and his flesh burning.
Of those six men, two lived and the other four eventually died of their wounds. SFC Cashe’s sister didn’t know of his heroic acts while she sat at his bedside at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas as his extensive burns were treated. When he was able to speak, his first words were, “How are my boys?” Then he wept, saying he couldn’t get them out fast enough.
SFC Cashe died of his wounds at 35 years of age on Nov. 8, 2005. You might wonder why this is being brought to your attention now.
For his valor in this incident, SFC Cashe was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry, the third highest award for valor in combat, one step above heroism.
The Silver Star is a significant honor, but there is a movement afoot to recognize a mistake in the award, that it should have been the nation’s highest award for valor “… with selfless concern for his fellow soldiers and complete disregard for his own safety …“
At left, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn C. Cashe.
At the time his Commanding Officer did not realize the extent of his actions because the witnesses were too severely injured to provide the extensive testimony needed to meet the high threshold for a Medal of Honor award.
Now, the witnesses who lived and others are petitioning the political powers in Washington, D.C., to upgrade SFC Cashe’s award to the Medal of Honor.
Last weekend, my friend, Mike King, made me aware of this matter and said we need to do something. Indeed, we do.
Mike was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Vietnam. While he won’t tell you about that bad day in his life, he is more qualified than anyone I know to give the Silver Star the respect it is due, and at the same time to judge SFC Cashe worthy of America’s highest award.
Accordingly, here’s what Mike and I are doing. We are drafting a short letter to the President, our Congressmen and Senators, requesting SFC Cashe’s case be reopened and reconsidered for the Medal of Honor.
We would like as many of you that are willing to take a little time to email one of us. We will send you the letters so you only need to add your name, address etc., and send in a stamped envelope since that still works best when it counts the most.
Please take a little time this holiday season to support a posthumous Medal of Honor award to SFC Cashe. Getting the recognition he deserves won’t bring him back, but it will underscore to his family that we are a grateful nation.
Send me an email at terry@garlock1.com, or Mike King at sking24578@comcast.net
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, especially to families with loved ones deployed.
[Terry Garlock lives in Peachtree City and writes columns occasionally for The Citizen. He has authored a book, “Strength & Honor: America’s Best in Vietnam.” His email is terry@garlock1.com.]