The 3 US Army soldiers Biden is awarding the Medal of Honor each put their lives on the line to save others
- Biden is awarding three US Army soldiers the Medal of Honor on Thursday.
- The three men are Alwyn Cashe, Christopher Celiz, and Earl Plumlee.
President Joe Biden is awarding three US Army soldiers the Medal of Honor for heroically putting their own lives on the line to save others in combat. Two of the three men did not survive the fight, but others did because of their sacrifices.
Sergeant 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz, and Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee are receiving the nation's highest valor award for conspicuous gallantry in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On October 17, 2005, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle Cashe was riding in was hit by an improvised explosive device in Iraq that set the vehicle ablaze. Though Cashe made it out of the vehicle, which was also taking small arms fire, he went back in to rescue others, refusing to leave them behind.
Cache pulled seven people from that burning vehicle, even as his fuel-soaked uniform burst into flames, burning him severely, and the enemy fired on his position.
Though he had suffered second and third degree burns across most of his body, Cashe refused medical evacuation until others were taken out.
Cashe's sister recalled in an interview with the LA Times that one of his first questions at the hospital was, "How are my boys?" That was his concern, not the severe injuries, the burns across over 80 percent of his body, but his fellow soldiers.
Despite the care he received at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, Cashe ultimately succumbed to his serious wounds and died at the hospital a few weeks after the fight.
—XVIII Airborne Corps (@18airbornecorps) December 13, 2021
While leading an operation to clear an area of enemy forces in Afghanistan on July 12, 2018, Celiz's team came under attack from a large enemy force.
Exposing himself to a hail of bullets, Celiz grabbed a heavy weapon system and began returning fire, allowing the US soldiers and partner force personnel on his team to maneuver to cover, as well as begin treating a critically-wounded team member who needed to be evacuated.
When a medevac helicopter arrived, Celiz again came out of his cover despite enemy fire to direct the evacuation. He purposefully positioned himself between the incoming bullets and the troops helping to evacuate the wounded service member.
Once the wounded was safely aboard the aircraft, the other members of his team returned to covered positions as Celiz continued to fire on the enemy from an exposed position near the aircraft.
As the helicopter was taking off, Celiz was shot, but rather than have the aircraft come back and pick him up amid enemy fire, he motioned for them to leave, ensuring that not only the wounded but also the helicopter crew made it out. Celiz did not survive his injuries and died that day in Afghanistan.
When a large force of insurgents wearing Afghan military uniforms and suicide vests breached a military base in Afghanistan following a massive explosion that tore a hole in the perimeter wall on August 28, 2013, Plumlee and five special operators grabbed a pair of vehicles and rushed to the breach point.
As the vehicles took fire, Plumlee used his own body to shield the driver, who was maneuvering the vehicle to provide cover for several injured soldiers.
Armed with just a pistol and some grenades, Plumlee jumped out of the vehicle and began immediately engaging the enemy. As he moved to cover, he killed an insurgent with a grenade and then shot another one in the vest, causing it to explode.
Another enemy fighter then detonated his suicide vest roughly 20 feet away as others poured fire on Plumlee's position. While attempting to launch a counterattack, Plumlee was violently knocked into a wall after another enemy detonated his suicide vest nearby.
Injured, Plumlee fell back but only to link up with a force of US and allied soldiers and continue the fight. With his last two rounds, Plumlee killed another insurgent. And as enemies continued to attack, Plumlee raced through enemy fire to aid a wounded soldier, carrying him to safety and treating his injuries.
"It was one of the worst gun fights I've ever seen," he later told the Army. "It was a crazy day. It doesn't make any sense. How I didn't get shot, I don't know."
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