b. 04/05/1979 Toledo, Ohio.
DATE OF MOH ACTION; 08-09/12/2012 Qarghahyi District of Laghman, Afghanistan.
Senior Chief Edward C. Byers Jr. was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1979. He grew up in Grand Rapids, Ohio. In 1997, he graduated from Otsego High School where he played varsity soccer. Byers joined the Navy in September 1998, and subsequently attended Recruit Training and Corpsman “A” School in Great Lakes, Illinois.
Byers started his naval career as a Hospital Corpsman. In 1998, he was assigned to Great Lakes Naval Hospital. In 1999, he served with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard USS AUSTIN (LPD 4). During deployment he earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) badge and Fleet Marine Force (FMF) warfare device.
In 2002, Byers attended Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) training and graduated with Class 242. After graduation, he attended the Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM) course. SOCS Byers has been assigned to East Coast SEAL Teams. He was promoted to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer in January of 2016.
Byers has deployed overseas 11 times with nine combat tours. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star with Valor (five awards), the Purple Heart (two awards), the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor, the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards, one with Valor), the Combat Action ribbon (two awards), and the Good Conduct Medal (five awards).
In December 2014, General Martin Dempsey “strongly recommended” Byers for the Medal of Honor. On February 29, 2016, President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Byers during a ceremony at the White House. Byers is the sixth SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor. Byers was assigned to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team Six, when he was presented the Medal of Honor. Byers is the first member of the unit to receive the Medal of Honor for an action as a unit member. The next month, Byers requested to return to his SEAL team.
In November 2017, Byers was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. In August 2017, Byers joined fellow Medal of Honor recipient Hershel W. Williams at the launching ceremony for a ship named after Williams. In May 2018, Byers was selected for promotion to master chief petty officer; during that same month Byers was in attendance when Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt Slabinski was presented with his Medal of Honor. By July 2018, Byers had received his promotion to master chief.
Byers holds a National Paramedics License, and has studied Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis at Norwich University. In 2021, Byers earned a Master of Business Administration at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.Byers is married to Madison and has a daughter, Hannah.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Hostage Rescue Force Team Member in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from 8 to 9 December 2012. As the rescue force approached the target building, an enemy sentry detected them and darted inside to alert his fellow captors. The sentry quickly reemerged, and the lead assaulter attempted to neutralize him. Chief Byers with his team sprinted to the door of the target building. As the primary breacher, Chief Byers stood in the doorway fully exposed to enemy fire while ripping down six layers of heavy blankets fastened to the inside ceiling and walls to clear a path for the rescue force. The first assaulter pushed his way through the blankets, and was mortally wounded by enemy small arms fire from within. Chief Byers, completely aware of the imminent threat, fearlessly rushed into the room and engaged an enemy guard aiming an AK-47 at him. He then tackled another adult male who had darted towards the corner of the room. During the ensuing hand-to-hand struggle, Chief Byers confirmed the man was not the hostage and engaged him. As other rescue team members called out to the hostage, Chief Byers heard a voice respond in English and raced toward it. He jumped atop the American hostage and shielded him from the high volume of fire within the small room. While covering the hostage with his body, Chief Byers immobilized another guard with his bare hands, and restrained the guard until a teammate could eliminate him. His bold and decisive actions under fire saved the lives of the hostage and several of his teammates. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of near certain death, Chief Petty Officer Byers reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: HELD BY RECIPIENT.