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Photo illustration by Aaron Provost

Three. That’s how many times Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe entered the burning carcass of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle after it struck an improvised explosive device in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin on Oct. 17, 2005. Cashe, a 35-year-old Gulf War vet on his second combat deployment to Iraq since the 2003 invasion, had been in the gun turret when the IED went off below the vehicle, immediately killing the squad’s translator and rupturing the fuel cell. By the time the Bradley rolled to a stop, it was fully engulfed in  flames. The crackle of incoming gunfire followed. It was a complex ambush.

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Photo via U.S. Army

On Oct. 17, 2005, 35-year-old Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe was one of the few soldiers in his unit to escape his burning Bradley Fighting Vehicle after it was struck by an improvised explosive device. The enemy was now targeting the blast site with small-arms fire, but instead of taking cover and tending to his wounds, Cashe went back into the roaring inferno to rescue his trapped comrades --- over and over again.

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