Medal of Honor: The story behind Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 2:42 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Many in the Army will say this should have happened a long time ago - a Medal of Honor for a man who earned it putting his life on the line for his brothers.

Efforts are already underway here in Columbus and Fort Benning to begin the process of recognizing the posthumous recipient - who served at Fort Benning.

Sgt. First Class Alwyn Cashe will be remembered significantly in the National Infantry Museum and stand as a legacy for his heroism for generations to come.

“To be able to do something to honor such an incredible American hero, it’s really an overwhelming thing to think about,” said Bunny Hinzman, commissioned artist for Medal of Honor portraits.

For this Columbus artist, it’s a high honor, paying tribute through her work to those who have received “the highest honor”.

“The medal is really the most intricate part of the piece,” said Hinzman.

You’ve met Bunny Hinzman on WTVM News Leader 9 before for her remarkable work and she’s been commissioned again for another Medal of Honor recipient - Sgt. First Class Alwyn Cashe. This time is different because it is a posthumous honor - and Hinzman knows that her work will be visual of a war hero who will be remembered by many for generations to come.

“He put his life on the line for his soldiers in a very dramatic way, and there’s always been a lot of discussion about what it’s going to take for him to get the Medal of Honor,” said Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Chris Lewis with the National Infantry Museum. “When we heard he was getting it, it was kind of like a sigh of relief…. ‘Hey, the army got this one right.’”

Command Sgt. Major (retired) Chris Lewis is the Education Director at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus where the artwork will be displayed. He tells us more about the man behind the medal…

“17 October 2005, he was in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, exact same vehicle you see here,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Lewis. “The vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device. Sgt. Cashe gets out of turret, goes to the front forward position to where the driver is, with assistance pulls the driver out, because the driver is on fire unfortunately. Despite the fact of having a fuel soaked uniform and equipment, he goes back to where the ramp is and systematically pulls the six soldiers and Iraqi interpreter out of the vehicle while he’s basically on fire. The soldier’s creed is I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

And the war hero’s legacy will now live forever through this honor.

Sgt. Cashe is the first black recipient of the Medal of Honor since 9/11.

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