Navy SEAL Edward Byers received the Medal of Honor on Monday morning for his role in rescuing an American civilian being held hostage by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama awarded Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Byers the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat, while pointing out that only five SEALs have ever received the honor.
The White House highlighted “his courageous actions” and “selfless service” during the December 2012 operation. The Pentagon described the encounter as involving “hand-to-hand combat” with multiple adversaries.
According to an unclassified summary from a defense official obtained by CNN, Byers “displayed superior gallantry, extraordinary heroism at grave personal risk” and is “unquestionably deserving of the Medal of Honor.”
The rescue of Dilip Joseph, an American medical doctor, took place in eastern Afghanistan and also resulted in the death of a member of the Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group, more commonly known as SEAL Team Six.
The unclassified summary said that Byers was the second member of the rescue team to enter the building where Joseph was being held.