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Congress Passes Resolution To Award Medal Of Honor To Late Iraq Veteran Alwyn Cashe

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Yesterday, the Senate passed H.R. 8276.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: An act to authorize the president to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Alwyn C. Cashe for acts of valor during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

SHAPIRO: There was no debate, no vote.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MITCH MCCONNELL: I ask the United States Senate the bill be considered read a third time and passed and a motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Without objection.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

And with that, Alwyn Cashe is that much closer to being commended with the medal his sister Kasinal White says he deserves.

KASINAL WHITE: We've waited 15 years, so a few more months won't hurt me.

SHAPIRO: Cashe died in 2005. He was doused in fuel when an IED hit his armored vehicle, and he ran back into the vehicle to save the lives of six soldiers.

CHANG: Burns covered most of Cashe's body, and he died a few weeks later at the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.

WHITE: I was finding out little bits of information day by day as things were going on, as reports were coming in or as his friends would come by to check on him. But at the time, our family was just numb because, you know, he was the baby.

SHAPIRO: Cashe has already been awarded the Silver Star, but an investigation showed that he ran back into the armored vehicle amid gunfire. Mark Esper, who was defense secretary until Monday, said Cashe should be given the Medal of Honor.

CHANG: Cashe would be the first African American to receive the award for acts of valor during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Kasinal White says she doesn't expect President Trump to sign off.

WHITE: Well, right now, there's a whole lot of commotion on Capitol Hill. Emotions are running high, and I think that my brother and my family are paying the price for that.

SHAPIRO: She remembers her brother as full of energy, and she says the Army gave him an outlet.

WHITE: He was just a boy's boy, a man's man. He was outdoorsy, very adventuresome, rambunctious as a kid.

SHAPIRO: On this Veterans Day, Kasinal White wants people to remember her brother Alwyn Cashe as someone who loved the Army and everything it stood for. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.