Fallen Central Florida soldier among 3 awarded Medal of Honor

President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor on Thursday to three U.S. soldiers who distinguished themselves by acts of valor while fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Among those honored is a fallen hero from Oviedo.

The medal was awarded posthumously to Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, 35, who suffered fatal injuries in Iraq while rescuing fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle in 2005. 

Cashe became the first Black U.S. service member to receive the Medal of Honor for actions since Vietnam. He was on patrol near Samarra, Iraq in October 2005 when the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was commanding was attacked with small arms fire and a roadside bomb that set it flame. Cashe pulled six fellow soldiers from the burning wreckage and suffered devastating burns himself.

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"Cashe retrieved six soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter from the burning vehicle, receiving burns on nearly 72% of his body," according to the Army. "Alwyn Cashe died on Nov. 8, 2005, at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas."

"When medical evacuation helicopters began to arrive, he selflessly refused evacuation until all of the other wounded soldiers were first evacuated," the White House said in a statement. "Sergeant First Class Cashe’s heroic actions, at the cost of his life, saved the lives of his teammates."

Cashe, who grew up in Oviedo, Florida, died from his burns at a Texas hospital the following month. Three of the soldiers he pulled from the flaming vehicle also perished.

His sister, Kasinal Cashe White, was at her brother’s bedside when the Army infantryman died. 

"I’ve been waiting on this so long," said White, who compared her elation at the news to winning the lottery.

"My baby brother will go down in history," White previously told the Ledger-Enquirer. "His name and his actions will be forever memorialized."

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Local leaders, along with Governor Ron DeSantis, had been pushing for him to be honored.

According to the Army, Cashe enlisted on July 18, 1989 as a supply specialist shortly after graduating from Oviedo High School. He had been deployed three times: once during the Gulf War and twice during Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Cashe is survived by his spouse, Tamara Cashe; daughters, Lajada and Alexis; and son, Andrew.

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