U.S. Navy SEAL awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan

Byers, team rescued an American hostage from the Taliban

Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Edward “Ed” C. Byers was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a part of a team that rescued an American civilian being held hostage in Afghanistan Dec. 8 – 9 2012.

After his fellow Navy Seal and lead assaulter was wounded when entering the room, Byers burst in anyway. He neutralized two fighters immediately, shielded the hostage with his own body, then neutralized a third fighter before his team could come in and take action. More information about the rescue can be found on the Navy’s Medal of Honor website.

Edward Byers receives the Medal of Honor

Navy Senior Chief Edward C. Byers Jr. receives the Medal of Honor for his actions while serving as part of a team that rescued an American civilian being held hostage in Afghanistan. (Photo via The White House)

Byers dedicated his Medal of Honor to his friend and teammate, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, who was killed in that battle.

“The thoughts of Nic, and the other brothers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice I believe is what will carry me through bearing the responsibilities that come with this honor,” said Byers following the ceremony. “I’m going to continue doing my job in the Navy, continue being a SEAL, and doing the thing I love ever since I was a child. It’s truly the best job in the world,” he added.

Byers started his career in the Navy as a corpsman, first serving at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Healthcare Center, a medical center run jointly by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. He entered the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL school in 2002 and received his first SEAL team assignment in 2004. Byers has served in 11 overseas deployments, nine combat tours and has received two Purple Hearts and five Bronze Star Medals with Valor device.

Byers is the sixth Navy Seal to receive the Medal of Honor.


Melissa Heintz

- Melissa Heintz joined the VA’s Digital Media Engagement team as a public affairs specialist in October 2015. She grew up on an Army base in Japan before her family relocated to Hawaii. She holds a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications and Spanish from Seattle University. Melissa has served as a public affairs specialist with Navy Region Hawaii Fleet and Family Readiness and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In December 2015, Melissa commissioned in the Rhode Island Air National Guard where she serves as a public affairs officer with the 143rd Airlift Wing.


  1. Navy Vet    

    Thank You Senior Chief! It is one of my self indulgences to come to this web site to get my perspective back. The world has changed dramatically in my lifetime so to see a man such as you being recognized in this manor is very refreshing to my spirit. Thank You again for ALL you do!

    1. John Vasko    

      Thanks Senior for serving with some of the finest! You are truly a Military Member that our young people can look up to!

  2. Donald Chalfy    

    Senior Chief Byers, thank you for being the kind of warrior we as Americans look up to and draw inspiration from you and your brethren in the SEAL community. I am a former active duty Marine (1979-1991) and have always had a healthy respect for the very few that function in the special forces community.

    I realize you take no pleasure in receiving for this award, given the price of loosing team mate PO1 Nicolas D. Checque; however, your dedication will help keep his memory alive, so wear it proudly. I wish you a heartfelt Semper Fidelis, stay hard and continue to march SEAL!

    Donald Chalfy
    Sergeant, USMC, former

  3. J harry Ayala    

    Thanks Chief, You are an inspiration ! and a voice to people in this here United States for Granted.

  4. Stephen Stoddard    

    Thank you senior chief. Yo are an example for all cpo’s to follow. It’s refreshing to see the dedication to your job, as well as your team mates.

    Stephen m. Stoddard
    BMC(SW) former

  5. Pat Williams    

    God Bless you and your family, Ed Byers, on being awarded the Medal of Honor!

    My late husband was a Viet Nam Veteran and an honorable man and hero to me for close to 47 years and I know he is cheering you on from his heavenly home. He was very proud to be a veteran and member of VFW 9573, Natchez, MS.

  6. Thomas McMurray, USN, USCGR    

    Bravo-Zulu, Senior Chief! Thank you for your service. Keep your powder dry, and continued safe sailing through the rest of your career!
    Semper Paratus!!

  7. james Young    

    AWESOME AWESOME, this is what America is all about.

  8. David P Nickerson    

    Thank You Brother. God has Blessed you for a reason, don’t waste the oportunity

  9. George A. Garcia    

    Question: Was the Doctor really an American by birth. Why did he go with so much violence (dud), and risked the life’s of our soldiers. He looks like a transplant Afghanistan. What are US’s policies, when we have no money, and a deficit.

  10. charlie calvo    

    Chief I really don’t know how to express my graditude. The words Thank You are just not enough. You and all our service members I can only say God Bless you all, and I thank God we have all of you.

  11. Nora Blankenship    

    Thank you Senior Chief for your bravery and service to our country. I want to thank your family as well as a former Navy wife I know the dedication and commitment that a Navy wife makes to support her husband. May God Bless all of you.

  12. wm louie    

    Thanks SrChief: I think that it is fitting that you should be battlefied commissioned.into either the Warrant Officer corps or the Naval Officer Corps. Let it also be said that the pension benefits are tax free from.all federal & state , local entities, along with no-fees for family passports, vehicle registrations, and property taxes. Education benefits should be combined with your VA benefits with no offsets and exempt from social security deductions. Your kids should be placed on a high priority list should they decide to attend any of the military academies.

  13. Donald Denese    

    Senior Chief Byers thanks for your great service. We from the other services wish you and your family all the best.

    Strong Service Strong Beliefs.

    SGM Denese U.S. Army (Ret)

  14. Roy B Guster    

    I would to obtain a copy of my DD214

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