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President Obama to Award the Medal of Honor

 

 

As reported by Naval Special Warfare Command Public Affairs, Feb. 2, 2016

On Feb. 29, 2016, President Barack Obama will present the Medal of Honor to Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers.

Byers will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as part of a team that rescued an American civilian being held hostage in Afghanistan on Dec. 8-9, 2012.

He will be the eleventh living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.

“The strength of the Naval Special Warfare community is in its exceptional people. Senior Chief Ed Byers’ actions on the battlefield reflect the highest ideals of our profession: bravery, selfless dedication to duty, and above all, the highest level of commitment to protect the lives of others and the freedom for which our nation stands,” said Rear Admiral Brian Losey, Commander Naval Special Warfare. “We are humbled by Senior Chief Byers’ incredible example of service, and are proud to call him Teammate.”

Personal Background

Senior Chief Byers was born in Toledo, Ohio, Aug. 4, 1979. He graduated from Otesgo High School in Tontogany, Ohio in June 1997.

Senior Chief Byers currently holds a National Paramedics License, and will graduate from Norwich University with a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis in early 2016.

Senior Chief Byers entered the Navy in September 1998, attending boot camp and Hospital Corpsman School at Great Lakes, Illinois. He served at Great Lakes Naval Hospital, and then with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 2002, he attended the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course, graduating from Class 242, and completed the Special Operations Combat Medic course in 2003. Senior Chief Byers has been assigned to various east coast SEAL teams, and completed eight overseas deployments with seven combat tours.

Navy Medal of Honor and Trident

The U.S. Navy Medal of Honor. The Medal is pictured with the Navy Special Warfare (SEAL) Trident. U.S. Navy photo by Oscar Sosa

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.

 

Additional information

The Medal of Honor:

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty while:

  • engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
  • engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  •  serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

There must be no margin of doubt or possibility of error in awarding this honor. To justify this decoration, the deed performed must have been one of personal bravery and self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades, and must have involved risk of life. It must also be the type of deed which if not done would not subject the individual to any justified criticism.

On Dec. 9, 1861 Iowa Senator James W. Grimes introduced S. No. 82 in the United States Senate, a bill designed to “promote the efficiency of the Navy” by authorizing the production and distribution of “medals of honor”. On December 21st the bill was passed, authorizing 200 such medals be produced” which shall be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen and marines as shall distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities during the present war (Civil War).” President Lincoln signed the bill and the (Navy) Medal of Honor was born.