Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Defense Secretary Mark Esper this week offered his support this week to a congressional campaign to award a Medal of Honor to a fallen U.S. soldier in Iraq.
Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and Michael Waltz, R-Fla. are seeking the honor for U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe, who died in 2005 after repeatedly entering a burning Bradley tank to rescue injured soldiers.
Cashe received a Silver Star medal for his actions, but the members of Congress have recommended an upgrade to the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. award for valor in combat.
Esper, in a letter on Aug. 24, said, "I agree that SFC Cashe's actions merit award of the Medal of Honor." He noted, though, that accommodations must be made to waive the requirement that the honor must be presented "within five years of the date of the act justifying the award."
In a statement on Friday, Murphy said that she and her colleagues will work together to pursue the modification. Cashe grew up in Oviedo, Fla., in Murphy's congressional district.
"Alwyn was a hero in the purest and most profound sense. He gave his own life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers," Murphy said in the statement.
"I am overjoyed that the Secretary of Defense has determined that SFC Cashe's actions merit the Medal of Honor, a conclusion I strongly share. I will work with my colleagues to swiftly grant the President the authority he needs to provide this valiant soldier with the recognition he earned."