My Take: A Sailor receives our Nation’s Highest Honor for Valor in Combat
Navy Senior Chief Edward Byers is the first living Navy SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
It was an honor to attend the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House for Navy Senior Chief Edward Byers this week. With so much pessimism in our country right now, I wanted to share the inspiring story of bravery and sacrifice displayed by Senior Chief Byers and those who keep us safe.
The Congressional Medal of Honor is our nation’s highest recognition for valor in combat. The incidents leading to the recommendation are carefully reviewed for accuracy throughout the chain of command, and are ultimately reviewed by the president himself. Just 20 service members have received this award since the Vietnam War.
Senior Chief Byers was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during a mission in December 2012. He was part of an operation to rescue an American aid worker held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Upon entering the compound where the American hostage was held, Senior Chief Byers displayed superior gallantry and heroism at grave personal risk by exchanging close-quarters gunfire and engaging in hand-to-hand combat with multiple adversaries. In the midst of a violent firefight, Senior Chief Byers identified the hostage and threw himself on top of him to shield the hostage from gunfire, at one point even pinning and neutralizing an insurgent against the wall while continuing to protect the innocent American.
Senior Chief Byers’ actions that day, together with his entire distinguished career, are a tremendous credit to the nation he serves. We owe our profound gratitude to him, as well as all of the men and women who choose to serve in uniform to keep us safe. They exemplify the exceptional nature of America, and Americans, representing all that is best about our country.
Member of Congress