Navy SEAL Receives Highest Military Honor In White House Ceremony

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Not everyone gets asked if they are free to take a call from the President. But Senior Chief Edward C. Byers Jr. of SEAL Team 6 is not just anyone. He is the first living SEAL since the Vietnam War to be awarded the highest military decoration in the country.

In December 2012, Byers was on a mission in Afghanistan to rescue an American doctor. During the operation, Byers neutralized two enemy combatants before finding the hostage and shielding him with his own body. He then helped his team take out another combatant. The mission was not without its costs though. The team lost one of its members, Chief Petty Officer Nicolas Checque, in the operation. This extraordinary act of valor won him the Congressional Medal of Honor, making it one of the few times a SEAL Team member has received the honor.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and world traveler with a background in journalism, graphic design, and French pastry. He likes to learn new things whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, folk music and coffee.