Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe’s service record reads like the stuff of military legend. After his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2005 and caught fire, Cashe did the unthinkable: He walked through fire for his men.
Initially awarded the Silver Star, it took a 10-year push to upgrade it to the Medal of Honor on Dec. 16, 2021. Now, there’s a graphic novel from the Association of the United States Army that tells his full story.
Cashe joined the Army in 1989 and served in the Gulf War. After deployments and moves all around the world to locations like Korea and Germany, he found his place as a platoon sergeant out at Fort Benning, Georgia.
That fateful day of Oct. 17, 2005, he was serving with the 3rd Infantry Division in the Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq, when his Bradley was met with enemy fire and struck by an improvised explosive device.
Cashe refused to leave any man behind and set to work trying to extract the driver. In the process, fuel began leaking from the vehicle.
“Sergeant First Class Cashe’s fuel soaked uniform ignited and caused severe burns to his body,” reads his citation.
Even with the immense pain, he went back and forth pulling his men to safety until no one was left inside the burning wreckage of the Bradley.
Despite suffering second and third-degree burns, Cashe persevered and ultimately pulled out six soldiers and an interpreter. Though he desperately needed medical attention, he saw to it that his men were treated first. Ultimately, the interpreter died in the initial blast, and four of the six soldiers succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.
Cashe was evacuated to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, but died from the severe burns sustained over 70% of his body on November 8, 2005. He left behind a wife and three children.
Cashe was originally awarded the Silver Star until Gen. Gary Brito, who originally nominated him, uncovered later just how profoundly gallant the sergeant’s actions were that day. As a result, Brito sought to have Cashe’s award upgraded to that of the Medal of Honor.
After a massive, yearslong campaign from Army brass, lawmakers and former soldiers alike, Cashe was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Joe Biden in 2021.
To read “Medal of Honor: Alwyn Cashe” online or download a copy, visit www.ausa.org/cashe.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.