President Joe Biden on Thursday (December 16) awarded three soldiers the Medal of Honor –– the nation’s highest military award for valor –– for risking their lives “above and beyond the call of duty” while fighting in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Among the soldiers honored was Army Sgt. Alwyn Cashe, who became the first Black service member to receive the Medal of Honor since 9/11.
“Today, we honor three outstanding soldiers, whose actions embody the highest ideals of selfless service,” Biden said during the ceremony. “We also remember the high price our military members and their families are willing to pay on behalf of our nation.”
Sgt. Cashe succumbed to injuries he sustained on October 17, 2005 in Iraq after saving his fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle while his own body was engulfed with flames. He died at the age of 35.
His widow, Tamara Cashe, accepted the posthumous honor on his behalf at the ceremony.
Alwyn’s sister, Kasinal Cashe-White, along with his battalion commander and other Army officers championed her brother’s bravery and recognition, petitioning that his actions 16 years ago be honored by this country.
“We lost our brother. He can’t be replaced. But this award means that his name, his legacy will go down in history,” Cashe-White told ABC News in an interview.
The late Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz was also awarded the Medal of Honor as well as Army Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee who attended the ceremony.