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Navy SEAL to Receive Medal of Honor Credits Fallen Comrade in Video

  • Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr (Photo: Navy) Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr (Photo: Navy)
  • Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr (Photo: Navy) Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr (Photo: Navy)
  • Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr (Photo: Navy) Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr (Photo: Navy)
  • Medal of Honor to be received by Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr (Photo: Navy) Medal of Honor to be received by Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr (Photo: Navy)

The U.S. Navy on Friday released a video interview with the Navy SEAL set to receive the Medal of Honor next week at the White House.

In the video, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers, a native of Toledo, Ohio, discusses the December 2012 mission to rescue Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American who had been kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban only days earlier.

Byers, 36, will be the 11th living service member to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan when President Barack Obama presents him with the award on Feb. 29.

The SEALs were successful in rescuing Joseph, a medical director with a nonprofit organization training Afghan healthcare workers, but one team member, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque, was killed during the operation.

In the interview, Byers said Checque was the point man as they headed toward the building where Joseph was being held. It was a night mission and the SEALs were wearing night-vision goggles.

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"He saw a guard come out of the door and he engaged the guard and we started sprinting towards the door," Byers said. "Nick made his way in and I made my way in right behind him."

Byers said he took out one enemy as he made his way along one of the inside walls, then jumped on another who was crawling across the floor. After Joseph responded to his calling out for him, Byers dispatched the enemy on the floor then moved over to shield Joseph from any possible fire.

"When I did that there was a guy right behind him within arm's reach, he was armed, and I was able to pin that guy to the wall by his throat while I'm holding the doctor and waiting for my team mates to come in and take care of the threat right next to us," he recalled.

Once outside, however, he saw Checque being treated by medics. Byers, who is also a medic, handed Johnson off to other team members and began helping to care for Checque. He said they continued resuscitating efforts on Checque until they reached the hospital, where the 28-year-old was pronounced dead.

Byers said he didn't consider himself a hero, applying that title instead to his fellow SEALs and, in particular, Checque.

"Nick embodied what it is in essence to be an American hero," he said. "He forever will be remembered in the pages of history for the sacrifices he made."

Byers said he is honored and humbled to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

"Because now I'll be a representative for the Navy and the Special Warfare community," he said. "And there is a weight that that carries with it, and that weight is the sacrifices that everybody has made within this community, guys like Nic Checque and all my other brothers who have fallen.

"It's an affirmation once again of the job that we do, an appreciation of the job that we do," he said.

Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Nicolas Checque's last name.

-- Bryant Jordan can be reached at bryant.jordan@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bryantjordan.

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Featured Special Forces Special Operations Navy SEALs Medal of Honor Navy Bryant Jordan Headlines

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