WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday presented the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for valor in combat, to three soldiers who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Two were recognized posthumously.
“Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude today as we honor the unparalleled courage, the commitment to duty, and the indispensable, indisputable gallantry,” Biden said at a White House ceremony.
Those honored included Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, 35, who died as a result of burns he suffered while rescuing fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq in 2005.
Cashe is the first Black service member to receive the Medal of Honor for military actions since Vietnam, according to the White House.
He was on patrol in Iraq in October 2005 when the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was commanding was attacked with small arms fire and a roadside bomb. Cashe repeatedly returned to the burning vehicle and pulled six soldiers from the wreckage. Despite his burns, Cashe refused to board the medical evacuation helicopter until the other soldiers were evacuated first.
Cashe, who grew up in Oviedo, Florida, died the burn at a Texas hospital the following month. Three of the soldiers he pulled from the flaming vehicle also died.