For those who don't know...THREE. That's how many times Sergeant First Class Alwyn C. Cashe entered the burning carcass of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle after it struck a victim initiated improvised explosive device in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin on Oct. 17, 2005. Cashe, a 35-year-old Gulf War vet on his second combat deployment to Iraq since the 2003 invasion, had been in the gun turret when the IED went off below the vehicle, immediately killing the squad's translator and rupturing the fuel cell. By the time the Bradley rolled to a stop, it was fully engulfed in flames. The crackle of incoming gunfire followed. It was a complex ambush.
Injured and drenched in fuel but not out of the fight, Cashe scrambled down into the hull and extracted the driver who was on fire. Once Cashe placed his driver a safe distance away, he noticed that the squad leader in the payload compartment managed to lower the back ramp, revealing the inferno inside. Cashe didn’t hesitate to take action; he returned to the Bradley to extricate his men. This action ignited his fuel soaked uniform but that didn’t stop Cashe from returning to the vehicle over and over again until he helped pull out all six of the remaining Soldiers out of the Bradley… alive. When it was all said and done, Cashe was the most severely wounded with 72% of his body covered in second and third-degree burns. Even still, he insisted on being the last man to be evacuated until all of his Soldiers were loaded first.
Before his deployment, SFC Cashe told his family that he would never leave any of his Soldiers behind in combat. He stayed true to those words… paying the ultimate price to live out his creed. He succumbed to the wounds that he suffered in the ambush and died on Nov 8, 2005. SFC was posthumously awarded a Silver Star but is currently being petitioned to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.
We are deeply honored to report however, that SFC Cashe’s story doesn’t just end here. We were told recently that a young man who has spent his entire life looking up at SFC Cashe, is on his way to continuing this hero’s legacy. SFC Cashe’s sole surviving son, Andrew is just about half-way through his Basic Combat Training. Andrew chose to be an Infantryman just like his father and is scheduled to receive his blue cord on July 24, 2020. We wish all the best to PFC Cashe as we can only imagine how proud his father would be to know that his son is following in his footsteps.
About the author: Andy, is a US Army Infantryman and your local Friendly Neighborhood Rooftop Korean. When he's not burning through his savings at the range, you can find him online sharing memes, playing video games, and writing stories about the baddest warriors throughout history. You can follow all of Andy's NSFW content at @call_me_ak on Instagram.