WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – After putting his life on the line for an American hostage and his fellow servicemen, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers was officially honored with the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, during a ceremony at the White House on Monday.
“Now, looking back, it seems Ed Byers was destined to serve,” said President Obama during his opening remarks. The 36-year old was recognized for his bravery, dedication, and self sacrifice after rescuing an American civilian who had been held hostage in Afghanistan in December 2012.
“The American people may not always see them. We may not always hear of their success. But they are there in the thick of the fight, in the dark of night, achieving their mission,” added Mr. Obama while describing the heroic actions of the Navy SEAL team who was credited with the daring rescue.
Putting his teammates first
Following the White House ceremony, Chief Byers spoke to reporters outside the White House to stress his thoughts, feelings, and attention remains focused on his fellow Navy SEALS and that through every mission its a team effort.
“The important thing I want to say here is, everything we do, we do it as a team. If it wasn’t for that team I wouldn’t be standing here today,” said Chief Byers. The highly decorated SEAL added specific thanks and praise to the Chief Petty Officer Nicolas Checque, a 28-year-old who died from injuries sustained in the 2012 rescue mission.
“He died a warrior, and he died to bring back another American, and I believe our nation owes him a debt of gratitude.” added Byers.
“Senior Chief Byers’ awards and decorations include five awards of the 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” according to a statement released by the White House.