As detailed in a Washington Post article first published Sunday, Byers burst in the door of a Taliban hideout where the doctor, Dilip Joseph, was being held in eastern Afghanistan after his fellow SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, was cut down by gunfire. Byers is credited with shooting a Taliban fighter who had pointed an automatic rifle at him, and then engaging in hand-to-hand combat with another insurgent. Byers leaped onto the doctor to shield him from gunfire after Joseph called out to him, pinning another Taliban fighter to a wall by his throat.
Byers is believed to be the first U.S. service member to ever receive the Medal of Honor for actions while serving in the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, commonly known as SEAL Team 6. Defense officials have declined to confirm that, but say Byers is the first living Navy SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.