President Joe Biden awarded three soldiers the Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House on Thursday.
Army Staff Sergeant First Class Alwyn Chase was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his selfless act of repeatedly rushing towards a burning vehicle to save six of his men and an Iraqi interpreter who were trapped inside.
On October 17, 2005, as his platoon was on a night-time patrol in Iraq, their Bradley Fighting Vehicle hit an improvised-explosive device and ignited. Cashe initially suffered minimal injuries, but as he repeatedly rushed back to the burning vehicle to pull more men out, his uniform caught on fire.
He refused to be medically evacuated until his men were. When he awoke in the hospital, his first words were, “How are my boys?” Cashe is the first African American recipient of the Medal of Honor from the global wars on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Alwyn Cashe was a soldier’s soldier. A warrior who literally walked through fire for his troops,” Biden said. “He was a hero. He was a beloved son and brother. A proud husband and a father of three children.”
Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Christopher Celiz was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, after he stood in the line of enemy fire to allow his teammates to be medically evacuated.
On July 12, 2018, Celiz was leading an operation in Afghanistan when he and his teammates were attacked and pinned down by a large enemy force. One of his teammates was wounded. When the rescue helicopter arrived and took fire, Celiz put himself in the line of fire to protect the cockpit and the enemy. Even after he was wounded himself, he waved off the helicopter so that it could depart safely.
“Christopher Celiz was courage made flesh,” Biden said.
Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee was awarded the Medal of Honor for repeatedly taking on the enemy singlehandedly to protect his team.
On August 28, 2013, after a forward operating base in Afghanistan was ambushed by insurgents, he sprang into action, and repeatedly used his body as a shield to protect his teammates, at one point taking on the enemy with a pistol and carrying a wounded soldier to safety and administering care.
“Time and again, Staff Sgt. Plumlee closed with the enemy,” Biden said. “This recognition has been too long in coming.”