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Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will award the Medal of Honor to Sgt. First Class Alwyn C. Cashe, who will become the first Black service member to receive the nation's highest medal for valor in combat for events during the war on terror.

Why it matters: Cashe will be honored alongside two other soldiers who displayed "conspicuous gallantry" while deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, the White House announced Friday.

  • The ceremony, which will take place on Dec. 16, honors soldiers who risked their lives "above and beyond the call of duty" in service of the United States.

Details: Cashe will receive the medal posthumously for rescuing his teammates from a vehicle engulfed in flames during a 2005 attack in Iraq.

  • Former President Donald Trump in December 2020 signed into law the annual defense policy bill, which included a provision that waived the five-year limit between the approval and the "extraordinary acts of valor" for Cashe and three others.
  • In each case, the secretary of Defense still had to approve and the president still had to authorize their receipt of the medal.

Master Sgt. Earl D. Plumlee, a Green Beret, originally received the Silver Star in 2015 for engaging insurgents wearing suicide vests without cover in order to clear a breach in the base’s perimeter wall in Afghanistan.

  • The lesser recognition sparked an investigation in which the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General looked into the decision-making process of the three-member board.
  • Defense Department top brass were also divided over the decision. Army Times reported in June 2016 that Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who went on to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Mark Milley, who would go on to replace Dunford, had supported the MOH title.
  • Meanwhile, former Army Secretary John McHugh and former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, backed the board's determination.

Sgt. First Class Christopher A. Celiz, an Army Ranger, will also receive the MOH for voluntarily exposing himself to Taliban fire in Afghanistan in 2018 in order to employ a heavy weapon system that would disrupt future attacks on Afghans.

  • He died from his wounds that day.

Go deeper

U.S. Army raises bonus cap for recruits to $50,000 amid COVID challenges

The U.S. Army's cadet summer training camp in Fort Knox, Ky., on July 20, 2021. The training event was canceled the previous year due to COVID. Photo: Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Army has raised its bonus cap for recruits to $50,000 for the first time, a spokesperson told Axios on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The pandemic and labor market challenges have negatively affected recruitment in the last few years, with the number of recruits dropping from roughly 68,100 in 2019 to 57,600 in 2021. The new incentive is aimed at attracting more people into Army ranks amid uncertain variables.

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker

University of Michigan reaches $490M settlement in sex abuse case

Jon Vaughn, a former University of Michigan and NFL football player, speaks at a press conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., in June 2021. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The University of Michigan on Wednesday reached a $490 million settlement with over a thousand survivors who allege that they were sexually assaulted by a former physician in the school's athletic department.

Driving the news: "It's been a long and challenging journey and these survivors have refused to remain silent," attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday.