Navy SEAL Senior Chief Edward Byers will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions during a successful hostage rescue mission in Afghanistan.
Senior Chief Edward Byers was a member of the elite Navy Special Warfare Development Group, commonly referred to as Seal Team 6, which successfully rescued Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American being held hostage by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan in December 2012.
The military just announced that Senior Chief Byers will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions during the mission. While most of the details of the mission still remain classified, the military did release a brief summary of the mission which reads more like something that you would see in a movie or a video game.
According to the summary, Senior Chief Byers was the second member of the rescue team to enter the building where Joseph was held hostage. The first team member was immediately shot by one of the Taliban guards. Passing his fallen comrade, Byers engaged a guard with his weapon then tackled another guard and subdued him in hand-to-hand combat.
When Joseph identified himself, Senior Chief Byers quickly moved across the room and dove on top of him, selflessly shielding the hostage with his body. While shielding Joseph, Senior Chief Byers then engaged another insurgent and pinned the Taliban guard to the wall with his hand around the man’s throat while other members of the rescue team shot and killed the guard.
Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque, another member of the rescue team, was shot by Taliban guards during the mission. While Senior Chief Byers and the other members of the rescue team worked valiantly to save his life, he was pronounced dead upon arrival back at Bagram Airfield.
Senior Chief Byers is the eleventh living member of the military to receive the the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. Seven more military members received the Medal of Honor posthumously for their actions in those Iraq and Afghanistan. Captain Florent Groberg was the most recent living member of the military to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan.