SEAL Team 6 member Edward C. Byers Jr. is set to emerge from anonymity to accept the Medal of Honor Monday.
Byers, now a senior chief petty officer, will receive the award for participating in a hostage rescue mission deep in the heart of Afghanistan, Dan Lamothe from The Washington Post reports. In 2012, after hiking with his unit for four hours to a remote location in eastern Afghanistan, Byers burst in a Taliban stronghold and threw himself on top of American hostage Dr. Dilip Joseph to protect him from the gunfire, as other SEAL Team members from his unit took out Taliban fighters standing guard.
While still protecting Dr. Joseph, Byers grabbed a Taliban fighter by the throat and held him up against the wall. The other SEALs riddled the fighter with bullets.
Byers was the second person in the room. The first SEAL, Nicholas D. Checque, was shot in the head and killed instantly upon entry.
“I’ve lived my entire career a very private life,” Byers said, according to The Washington Post. “We don’t talk about what we do, and this honor carries with it some obligations that I need to carry out. You know, you follow those through. But, I plan to continue doing my job as normal and to continue being a SEAL. It’s something I love and grew up wanting to be.”
Not much is known about Byers’ work with the SEALs, though he has revealed a little bit about his personal life. Byers is a Roman Catholic, who prays often to St. Michael the Archangel to receive strength. St. Michael is mentioned four times in the Bible as a warrior angel. In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, Michael fights against Satan.
“I’m going to be a representative for the Navy and the Naval Special Warfare community and there’s a weight that that carries with,” Byers said in a U.S. Navy video. “And that weight is the sacrifices that everybody has made within this community, guys like Nic Cheq and all my other brothers who have fallen. It’s an affirmation, once again, of the job that we do.”
Byers is ready to head back to work and already has 11 overseas deployments under his belt.
So far, there have been five previous Navy SEAL Medal of Honor recipients. Byers will become the sixth.
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