President Joe Biden presented the Medal of Honor to three American heroes during a ceremony on Thursday. Two were given posthumously to Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe and Army Sergeant First Class Christopher Celiz. Army Master Sergeant Earl Plumlee was in person to receive the nation's highest medal.
Happening Now: President Biden awards the Medal of Honor to three American soldiers and delivers remarks. https://t.co/WHsdGHBoZa— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 16, 2021
Cashe was initially given the Silver Star for saving his men from a burning Bradley Fighting Vehicle after being struck by an improvised explosive device in Iraq. While exposed to enemy gunfire and while he was on fire himself from fuel covering his uniform, Cashe was able to save six soldiers from the burning vehicle. He died from the second and third-degree wounds that covered over 70 percent of his body in 2005. Cashe's widow accepted the medal on his behalf.
Today is the day.— XVIII Airborne Corps (@18airbornecorps) December 16, 2021
At 1:30 PM EST the Family of Alwyn Cashe will receive the Medal of Honor
October 17, 2005 in Samarra, Iraq Alwyn rushed into the fire 7 times, pulling troops to safety while himself burning alive. Alwyn died of burns 22 days later#HisNameIsAlwynCashe pic.twitter.com/6DGRL9acpL
Celiz was posthumously given the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Paktia Province, Afghanistan in 2018:
"Shortly after his team reached their initial objective, a large enemy force attacked. The enemy placed effective fire on him and his team, preventing them from maneuvering to a counterattack. Realizing the danger to his team and the operation, Celiz voluntarily exposed himself to intense enemy machine-gun and small-arms fire.
"Under fire, he retrieved and employed a heavy weapon system, thereby allowing U.S. and partnered forces to regain the initiative, maneuver to a secure location, and begin treating a critically wounded partnered force member.
"As the medical evacuation helicopter arrived, it was immediately engaged by accurate and sustained enemy fire. Knowing how critical it was to quickly load the wounded partner, Celiz willingly exposed himself again to heavy enemy fire so he could take charge to direct and lead the evacuation. As the casualty was moved from a position of cover, Celiz made a conscious effort to ensure his body acted as a physical shield to protect his team, the injured partner and the crew of the aircraft from enemy fire...With his final reposition, Celiz placed himself directly between the cockpit and the enemy, ensuring the aircraft was able to depart. Upon the helicopter’s liftoff, Celiz was hit by enemy fire. Fully aware of his injury, but understanding the peril to the aircraft, Celiz motioned to the pilots to depart rather than remain to load him."
Plumlee earned the medal for his actions in the Ghazni Province, Afghanistan in 2013 when the forward operating base he was stationed at came under attack.
.@POTUS awards the Medal of Honor to Army Master Sergeant Earl D. Plumlee and posthumously to Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe and Army Sergeant First Class Christopher Celiz. pic.twitter.com/I6WCqRi55n— COURIER (@CourierNewsroom) December 16, 2021
"Using his body to shield the driver from enemy fire, Plumlee exited the vehicle while simultaneously drawing his pistol and engaging an insurgent 15 meters to the vehicle’s right. Without cover and with complete disregard for his safety, he advanced toward the enemy force, engaging multiple insurgents with only his pistol. Upon reaching cover, he killed two insurgents...
"Plumlee left cover and continued to advance alone. Moving forward, he engaged several combatants at close range. Under intense enemy fire, Plumlee temporarily withdrew to cover, where he joined another Soldier.
"Plumlee, ignoring his injuries, quickly regained his bearings and reengaged the enemy. Intense enemy fire once again forced the two Soldiers to temporarily withdraw. Undeterred and resolute, Plumlee joined a small group of American and coalition soldiers moving from cover to counterattack the infiltrators."