Alwyn Cashe: Never Leave a Man Behind
Categories: American Grit Stories
2005. Iraq. It was a hellish environment of urban warfare, places like Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi were all over the news…one town didn’t make the news despite the violence there. Samarra. There we saw the best in humanity on display. Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe certainly deserves to be on the list of the most selfless and the toughest men we’ve ever heard of or had the privilege of writing about.
During a patrol, Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe was in the gun turret of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. As was the norm of the time a quiet day turned into a chaotic maelstrom in a matter of seconds when an IED detonated next to his vehicle. An eruption of small arms fire intensified the danger. Luckily Alwyn wasn’t harmed by the initial explosion and he set to work keeping a promise he’d made to his men, that he’d never leave any one of them behind. A promise for those he’d come to know as his brothers, his family. Men who would do the same for him and not hesitate. Just like he didn’t hesitate.
The Bradley was on fire.
There were still men inside.
That’s where Alwyns true colors burst forth in unabashed splendor. He went back to the vehicle, pulling men from inside. His uniform became drenched in fuel. The Bradley engulfed in flames and so was Cashe.
He went back again.
Pulling six men from the burning wreckage, whilst his uniform was drenched from the ruptured fuel cells, Alwyn Cashe, a leader, a man, a brother, a friend suffered intense third degree burns across 70% of his body. The pain was intense and only worsened.
Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe passed away weeks after the explosion at Fort Sam Houston from his wounds. Out of the six men he pulled from the wreckage, two did not keep their appointment in Samarra.
There is a petition to upgrade SFC Alwyn Cashe’s Silver Star to the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions that October day in 2005.
Rightly so. Rightly so.
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