SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – President Donald Trump signed legislation Friday to allow Iraq war hero Alwyn Cashe from Oviedo, to be awarded the medal of honor, a move that ends Cashe’s family and supporters 15-year quest to honor him with the nation’s highest military award.
“I was excited, I was thrilled for the family,” Ed Burford, an Army veteran among supporters for the bill to pass, said. “This is very significant. This is 15 years in the making. The gentleman was 35 years old at the time of death. It took 15 years to upgrade his Silver Star to Medal of Honor.”
It took 15 years for a president to sign the bill to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Cashe for his acts of valor during Operation Iraqi Freedom while serving in the United States Army. A recognition long overdue, said Burford.
“I think it should’ve been awarded much much earlier. He was originally awarded a Silver Star for heroism--, because the leadership just did not know the extent of what he did,” the veteran who is a retired officer for Seminole County’s Veteran Services department said.
In October 2005, Cashe was in a Bradley fighter vehicle in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded nearby.
“It blew up the fuel tank; soldiers inside and especially Sgt. Cashe was soaked in gasoline. He pulled six soldiers out of that Bradley vehicle,” Burford said. “Six, out of that Bradley vehicle. Some of them were injured some of them were knocked unconscious. All the time his uniform was on fire.”
The Florida native died from his injuries on Nov. 8, 2005, at a military hospital in San Antonio, Texas. He suffered burns over nearly 75% of his body.
Burford started advocating for Cashe’s recognition several years ago when John Mica was a Florida State Representative.
“Every time I used to see Congressman Mica, I used to ask him about Sgt. Cashe, ‘What’s going on with Sgt. Cashe? What are you doing about it? How can we push it?’ When he left office, every time I saw Ms. Murphy, same questions would come up,” he said. “I don’t know how much influence I had other than to keep his name alive.”
When asked what the honor meant for him personally, Burford said it’s about Cashe’s acts of heroism mean.
“You have to look at what this man accomplished. He saved six lives. All the time he was badly wounded with second- and third-degree burns,” he said. “It won’t bring him back but it’s meaningful for the family, it’s closure that what he accomplished was noticed. What he accomplished; people understood. What he accomplished, was extraordinary.”