On February 29, 2016, Edward Byers, a Navy SEAL Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator will receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions during a successful top secret rescue operation in December of 2012. Many of the details of the op are still classified, and the award citation, which usually has a highly detailed account of the actions that led to the award, only cites, “his courageous actions while serving as part of a team that rescued an American civilian being held hostage in Afghanistan, December 8-9, 2012,” according to this USA Today article.
Some details are known, however, because the civilian target of the rescue op published a book in 2014 titled, Kidnapped by the Taliban: A Story of Terror, Hope, and Rescue by SEAL Team Six. The target was Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American medical doctor who had been abducted five days earlier by Taliban fighters while on a faith-based medical mission trip. During the mission, one of the SEAL team members (the doctor identifies them as SEAL Team Six, although DEVGRU would be more accurate) was killed. In his book the doctor describes Byers laying on top of him to protect him during a firefight.
This ain’t Byers’ first award rodeo, either. The certified BAMF already has five Bronze Stars with Valor. Here’s the full award list from the White House’s announcement:
Bronze Star Medal with Combat V device, two awards of the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor device, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V device, two additional awards of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, two awards of the Combat Action Ribbon, three Presidential Unit Citations, two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, two Navy Unit Commendations, and five Good Conduct Medals.
Senior Chief Byers is now the eleventh living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. Welcome to the club. Can’t wait for the movie to come out.