President Obama awarded Navy SEAL Edward Byers with the Medal of Honor yesterday for his valiant actions during a 2012 hostage rescue mission in east Afghanistan. He’s the sixth Navy SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor and the eleventh living service member to receive the award from Afghanistan.
He accepted the award with a humbled and heavy heart, and dedicated his award to those Navy SEALs who have lost their lives. In particular, he remembers his fellow teammate, Navy SEAL Nicolas Checque, who lost his life on the hostage rescue mission Byers was recognized for. Nicolas Checque was the first to enter the building where the American hostage was being held. Byers, the second person in, was able to shield the hostage from enemy fire and help neutralize the other threats. Without Byers’s actions, the hostage and his other teammates may have lost their lives. Cheque selflessly gave his life in order to save another American, and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
I’m going to be a representative for the Navy and the Navy Special Warfare community, and there’s a weight that carries with it,” Byers said. “And that weight is the sacrifices that everybody has made within this community. Guys like Nic Checque and all our other brothers who have fallen. It’s an affirmation, once again, of the job that we do and an appreciation for the job that we do.
Writing about it is just not the same as hearing him talk about the mission in his own words. See the video of Navy SEAL Edward Byers recounting the 2012 hostage rescue mission below.