SFC Alwyne Cashe died on November 8, 2005 after being burned over 90% of his body. When an IED attack left his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in flames in Iraq, he went back 3 times to pull his men and an interpreter out of the inferno. Lawmakers are now looking to upgrade his Silver Star to the Medal of Honor. But the attention ramped up after Pittsburgh Steeler Alejandro Villanueva changed up the name on his helmet from a Black man shot by police to Alwyne Cashe. (SOFREP)
Alejandro Villanueva is no stranger to doing things his way. In 2017, when the rest of his team decided not to go out of the lockeroom for the National Anthem, he stood alone on the field during it. (We previously reported that situation.)
This time, instead of placing the name Antwon Rose on his helmet like the rest of his team, he purposely covered up that name and wrote Alwyn Cashe in its place. Villanueva cleared his decision with head coach Mike Tomlin. Villanueva honors the flag, the National Anthem, and the fallen because he was a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
[Note: “Antwon Rose II was a 17-year-old ‘gang-banger’ with a criminal history. He had multiple convictions, and robbed his employer at gunpoint with an accomplice in order to steal a second handgun.” Another Pittsburgh Steeler, Maurkice Pouncey also decided not to honor Rose on his helmet after he learned about the history of the teen.]
SFC Alwyn Cashe
October 17, 2005, Samarra, Iraq: An IED exploded under a Bradley Fighting Vehicle designated Alpha 13, igniting its fuel cell, throwing fuel onto the uniforms and bodies of men inside. Sergeant 1st Class Alwyn “Al” Cashe from Sanford, Florida, was in the gunner’s hatch. Leader of the men in the Bradley, he managed to escape; then, while under enemy fire, he made three trips back into the burning BFV to pull six soldiers and an interpreter out. His own fuel-soaked uniform burned away, leaving only his helmet, body armor and boots. Covered with severe burns over as much as 90% of his body, he refused to be evacuated until all of his men had been medevaced. He died November 8, 2005, at San Antonio Military Hospital in Texas.
Cashe posthumously received a Silver Star for his actions. But now, lawmakers are working to make it a Medal of Honor by advancing legislation to remove the 5 year rule so that it could be done. Secretary of Defense, Dr Mark Esper, has reviewed Cashe’s file and agreed that the Medal of Honor should be granted. He asked Congrses to push forward legislation so it could be accomplished, which Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla. have introduced (Military Times). It’s anyone’s guess whether or not the legislation will be fast-tracked.
Cashe is a hero. Rose is not. And that is the bottom line.
Featured: Alwyn Cashe, US Army photo