A Navy SEAL who was part of a courageous hostage rescue in Afghanistan in 2012 will receive the military's top award for heroism. Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers was the second one through the door as his SEAL Team Six unit raided a Taliban hide-out where an American doctor was held hostage.
The Navy SEAL's role in the rescue mission was a tightly-held secret until Tuesday when it was announced that Byers' actions earned him the Medal of Honor.
According to accounts of his heroic actions, when Byers entered a Taliban hideout, he saw an unknown man darting for the corner of the room. Not knowing whether the man was a militant grabbing a gun or a hostage diving for cover, Byers tackled him to the floor.
When Byers heard the hostage identify himself, he threw himself on top of the doctor to protect him from gunfire, even as he pinned the enemy against the wall with his hand to the enemy's throat.
The raid took place Dec. 8 and 9, 2012 to rescue Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American who had been kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban days before. Joseph was in the country as the medical director for Morning Star Development, a nonprofit organization training Afghan healthcare workers.
While Dilip was recovered safely from his captors, the operation proved costly. Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque, 28, a member of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6, was shot and killed during the raid.
President Obama will present the highest military honor to Byers at the White House on Feb. 29.
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