- The Washington Times - Monday, February 29, 2016

President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor Monday to a Navy SEAL for courageous actions while serving on a team that rescued a U.S. civilian hostage in Afghanistan in 2012.

The president bestowed the nation’s highest military award on Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers, 36, the 11th living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan.

During the raid in Laghman Province in December 2012, Senior Chief Byers used his body as a shield to protect the American hostage, Dr. Dilip Joseph, while simultaneously subduing another enemy in a one-room hut. One of his SEAL teammates, Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Nicolas Checque, was killed by enemy fire.

“Ed saved the lives of several teammates and that hostage,” Mr. Obama said during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. “We’re so grateful to him.”

Senior Chief Byers said later that the nation owes “a debt of gratitude” to his fallen brother-in-arms.

“If it wasn’t for my team, I wouldn’t be standing here today,” he said. He called being a SEAL “the best job in the world.”

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Senior Chief Byers entered the Navy in 1998 and spent four years as a hospital corpsman — including three years with the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina — before heading to basic underwater demolition/SEAL training.

As a SEAL, he completed eight overseas deployments and seven combat tours. Among his awards and decorations are a five Bronze Stars with combat “V” and two Purple Hearts.

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