On Feb. 29, President Obama awarded Senior Chief Petty Officer Edward C. Byers Jr. the Medal of Honor. This is the nation’s highest honor for military valor.
The award recognizes Byers’ heroism during a 2009 operation in Afghanistan. Byers and members of SEAL Team 6 rescued American Dilip Joseph, an aid worker and physician who was being held hostage by the Taliban.
After wrestling a gunman, Byers shielded the hostage from gunfire. During the exchange, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque was killed in action.
Byers is the first living, active-duty U.S. Navy service member to receive the award since 1976.
And it turns out that he got his start as a Scout in Troop 325 of Grand Rapids, Ohio.
President Obama described Byers as the kind of guy who “is defined by a deep sense of humility.”
That description sounds accurate to Byers’ former Scoutmaster, Brent Bomer of Grand Rapids, Ohio.
“Ed wasn’t a superstar,” Bomer says. “He was a good Scout, and he liked to camp and be outside.” The Scoutmaster says Troop 325 has spent “quite a bit of time talking about Ed. The boys think it’s pretty cool.”
Byers achieved the First Class rank and earned the First Aid merit badge, which he likely put to use on that 2009 day in Afghanistan.
Join us in thanking Byers for his heroism and service to our nation.
Watch Monday’s ceremony below.
Top photo courtesy of U.S. Navy; Inset photo by Chip Somodevilla for Getty Images.