Biden awards Medal of Honor to 3 soldiers, including first African-American since Vietnam War


“Each of you knows what it is like to look down on danger and come together in the face of a time of trial. We are grateful for all the three of you have done,” said Biden at the ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Cashe, while on fire and exposed to enemy fire while serving in Iraq, shot several soldiers and an interpreter from a burning vehicle that was hit by an improvised explosive device. He died of his injuries in 2005. Cashe was awarded a Silver Star for his heroism, but it took a new law, signed by then-President Donald Trump, to exempt his case from a deadline for a medal of honor. .

The president called Cashe a “soldier of a soldier” and “a man who literally walked through fire for his men.”

Cashe, said Biden, is the seventh serviceman to receive the Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal of Honor and the first African-American to receive the medal since the Vietnam War.

Celiz was honored for his actions in Afghanistan in 2018. While clearing an area of ​​enemy forces, the Celiz-led unit came under enemy fire. He has exposed himself to enemy fire more than once, most notably when he used his body as a shield for an injured person whom he loaded into a medevac helicopter and guarded him while he took off without him. Facing gunshots, he waved the plane to take off, telling them to leave without him. Celiz died of his injuries during a subsequent evacuation flight.

Biden called Celiz “courage made flesh.”

“Today we add his name to the forefront of American warriors who, generation after generation, have served our nation,” said Biden.

“His legacy lives on, the lives he saved, the teammates he mentored and the memories he made with his wife, Katie,” he continued, turning to Celiz’s daughter, Shannon, and saying, “Thank you for sharing your father with our country.”

Plumlee, the only living recipient of the Medal of Honor for Thursday’s ceremony, was honored for his actions in Afghanistan in 2013. After insurgents shelled a perimeter wall at Forward Operating Base Ghazni and attempted to settle there, Plumlee and others headed for the explosion. He used his body as a shield for the driver, killed insurgents while armed only with a pistol, transported a soldier to safety, and administered aid. An insurgent who shot he killed was wearing a suicide vest, which exploded when Plumlee fired.

President Joe Biden presents the Medal of Honor to Army Master Sgt.  Earl Plumlee for his actions in Afghanistan on August 28, 2013, at an event in the East Room of the White House on Thursday, December 16, 2021, in Washington.  (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

“I am grateful for your continued service to our country,” Biden told Plumlee during Thursday’s ceremony.

The President also thanked the families of all the recipients, telling them, “It is not just the person who wears the uniform who serves. The whole family serves. Sleepless nights, missed vacations, empty chairs, celebrations. how you give back to your community.

Ahead of Thursday’s ceremony, Biden enacted HR 5142, which awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. servicemen who died in the bombing near Kabul airport on August 26, 2021 – in the midst of the American military exit from Afghanistan.

In May, Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to Ralph Puckett Jr., a U.S. Army Ranger who led the defense against six Chinese assaults on a frozen hill during the Korean War.

Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Jill Biden and Second Mr. Doug Emhoff attended the Medal of Honor ceremony on Thursday.

There were approximately 120 guests, including military leaders, members of Congress, former Medal of Honor recipients, members of the Biden administration, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the Councilor to national security Jake Sullivan, according to the White House.

CNN’s Allie Malloy and DJ Judd contributed to this report.


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