After sacrificing his own life to save his fellow soldiers in Iraq, former Army sergeant Alwyn Cashe has posthumously been cleared to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva had honored Cashe earlier this season on his helmet, as part of a larger push among the veteran community to have him recognized with the nation’s highest military honor for his heroism.
On Friday, President Donald Trump signed legislation that would remove the procedural barriers preventing Cashe from receiving the award. The bipartisan bill lifts the five-year time limit for awarding the Medal of Honor.
Cashe suffered severe burns across his body that ultimately took his life in 2005, after pulling his fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle that had been hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
Villanueva’s decision to honor Cashe did cause some controversy, as the Steelers had previously announced that the entire team would be honoring Antwon Rose Jr., who was 17 when he was shot and killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer in 2018. The officer, Michael Rosfeld, was charged with criminal homicide and later acquitted.
Following the Steelers’ season-opening win against the Giants, head coach Mike Tomlin did confirm that Villanueva approached him about the decision to honor Cashe, and supported his choice.
President Trump signing the bill now clears the path for the Department of Defense to formally nominate Cashe. Only the President holds the authority to bestow the Medal of Honor.