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Inside the Navy SEAL's Medal of Honor rescue mission

March 1, 2016 (Photo Credit: Mike Morones/Staff)


An official illustration sheds new light on the nighttime raid where a Navy SEAL earned the nation’s highest valor award for rushing through gunfire to save an American hostage.

Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL/FMF/SW) Edward Byers was the second assaulter on the compound in Afghanistan where Taliban captors held an American doctor. As they approached the compound, a guard spotted them and SO1 Nicolas Checque and Byers sprinted in pursuit, actions depicted in the U.S. Navy graphic released Monday.

Checque was first into the one-room compound and was fatally shot. Byers rushed in after him, killing two guards and then leaping into place to shield the American captive. While protecting him, Byers spotted a third guard and grabbed him by the throat, holding him until teammates stepped in and killed that guard.

The official illustration (below) is a blow-by-blow account of the rescue mission and a rare look into the shadowy operations of SEAL Team 6, also known as Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the storied strike force who killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, ending the world’s biggest manhunt.


New details of this mission became public as President Obama recognized Byers for his brave and selfless actions under fire, along with teammates like Checque, who officials said posthumously earned the Navy Cross for his valor.

After the award ceremony Monday, Byers dedicated the award to his fallen shipmate.

"My teammate, friend and brother, Nic Checque — the award is truly his," Byers said.


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