Per the release, Edwards, of Equinunk, PA, has led special operations forces throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. Edwards has deployed twice to Afghanistan, three times to Iraq, and spent a year in Bahrain, where he established a regional task force and directed special operations in its area of responsibility, which included unstable regions of Africa and the Middle East.
Edwards’ most recent operational assignments have included a Task Unit Commander and operations officer for an unspecified unit. He has also been awarded multiple military decorations, including the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon, according to the White House.
Edwards received a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy, and a Masters in Public Policy (M.P.P.) from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. It was not specified where Edwards would serve in the White House, though past SEALs have served on the National Security Council, among other positions.
Edwards is the latest in a line of Navy SEALs to serve as White House Fellows. Bill Gallagher was chosen for the 2010-11 class, and this author assumes he is the same Bill Gallagher who graduated with BUD/S Class 228, which was featured in Dick Couch’s book, “The Warrior Elite: The Forging of Class 228.” That Bill Gallagher was the class leader of Class 228 and a stand-up guy from this author’s recollection.
Former SEAL Michael Hayes was also a Fellow, and a member of the 2008-9 class. Hayes would go on to become the Commander of SEAL Team TWO following his fellowship, and also served as this author’s operations officer for a time at SEAL Team EIGHT.
Hayes was involved in a controversial tour in Afghanistan in 2012, as described in a New York Times article in 2015, in which a local Afghan man was beaten to death while in the custody of local police and members of SEAL Team TWO. He was also a close friend of SEAL Commander Job Price, who committed suicide in Afghanistan in 2012.
Former SEAL Lou Bremer also served as a Fellow, in the 2007-8 class, and was immediately preceded in the 2006-7 class by former SEAL Jeff Eggers. Eggers was the former executive officer of SEAL Team SEVEN, and went on to retire from the Navy in 2013 and become a Senior Fellow at New America, a think tank.
Perhaps the most well-known — at least nationally — former SEAL to be a White House Fellow is Eric Greitens, who was a member of the 2005-6 class of Fellows. Greitens recently won the Republican primary race to be the GOP’s candidate for governor of Missouri, and will face Democrat Chris Koster in the November 2016 Missouri gubernatorial election.
The White House Fellows program was founded in 1964, by President Lyndon Johnson, and purports to offer “exceptional young men and women” the opportunity to experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. Those selected for the program, according to the White House, “typically spend a year working as a full-time, paid fellow to senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials.”