President Barack Obama Monday awarded the nation's highest military honor to a Navy SEAL who participated in a daring 2012 raid that rescued an American hostage in Afghanistan.
Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers, Jr., 36, is the first living, active duty member of the Navy to receive the award in four decades.
Obama said Byers is the "consummate, quiet professional" who would rather be elsewhere. But he said the ceremony gives Americans the chance to get a glimpse of a special breed of warrior who so often serves in the shadows.
The rescue was undertaken by members of the Navy's famed SEAL Team 6. Byers was the second Navy SEAL to enter the building containing the hostage.
Fellow SEAL Team Six member Nicolas Checque, who is also hailed as a hero, was the first in the door of the compound where the hostage was being held. The 28-year-old was fatally shot in the head.
Byers will be the 11th living service member to be honored with the award.
Byers was born in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from BUD/S class 242 in Coronado, and has served on various East Coast teams. He has completed eight overseas deployments with seven combat tours.
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.