PROOF Research recently had the great honor of hosting Master Chief Special Warfare Operator and Medal of Honor recipient Edward C. Byers, Jr. at our state-of-the-art facility in Columbia Falls, Montana. During his visit, Chief Byers received a full tour of our manufacturing facility where he was able to follow the entire manufacturing process from double stress-relieved stainless steel to aerospace-grade carbon fiber-wrapped barrel to complete rifle system. At the end of the tour, Chief Byers was presented with a complimentary TAC II rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.
Master Chief Byers is 1 of only 12 living service members to be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism since 9/11 and is only the 6th SEAL in Naval Special Warfare’s prestigious history to be bestowed this honor. He is the only enlisted Medal of Honor recipient still on active duty in the military.
Master Chief Byers was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony on February 29, 2016, for his heroic actions as an assault team member attached to a special task force during a hostage rescue mission in December 2012.
On December 5th, 2012, Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American citizen, was abducted and held captive in the Qarghah’i District of Laghman Province, Afghanistan. When intelligence reports indicated that Dr. Joseph might be transported to another location as early as December 9th, a rescue team was assembled.
Chief Byers was part of the team that planned to make entry into the room of guards where the hostage was believed to be located. Success of the rescue operation relied upon surprise and swift and aggressive action. Trading personal security for speed of action was inherent to the success of the rescue mission. Each member of the rescue force volunteered for the operation with full appreciation for the risks they were about to undertake.
After four hours of hiking across mountainous terrain and unimproved trails the team reached the remote compound where the doctor was believed to be held. As the patrol closed to within 25 meters of the target building, an enemy guard became aware of the rescue force and darted inside. The forward-most assaulter pushed through the door and was immediately shot by enemy AK-47 fire. Chief Byers, fully aware of the hostile threat inside the room, boldly entered and immediately engaged a guard pointing an AK-47 at him. As he was engaging that guard, another adult male darted towards the corner of the room and attempted to arm himself with an AK-47 that lay in the corner. Chief Byers seized him and engaged in hand-to-hand combat.
By now other team members had entered the room and were calling to Dr. Joseph to identify himself. Chief Byers heard an unknown voice speak English from his right side. He immediately leaped across the room and selflessly flung his body on top of the American hostage, shielding him from the continued rounds being fired across the room. Almost simultaneously, Chief Byers identified an additional enemy fighter directly behind Dr. Joseph. While covering the hostage with his body, Chief Byers was able to pin the enemy combatant to the wall with his hand around the enemy’s throat. Unable to fire any effective rounds into the enemy, Chief Byers was able to restrain the combatant enough to enable his teammate to fire precision shots, eliminating the final threat within the room.
After confirming that Dr. Joseph was able to move, Chief Byers and his Team Leader stood Dr. Joseph up and moved him to the helicopter landing zone. During the 40-minute flight to Bagram Airfield, Chief Byers, a certified paramedic and 18D medic, rendered medical aid to their wounded team member where he was ultimately declared deceased.
According to the U.S. Navy’s Summary of Action, “Chief Petty Officer Byers displayed superior gallantry, extraordinary heroism at grave personal risk, dedication to his teammates, and calm tactical leadership while liberating Dr. Dilip Joseph from captivity. He is unquestionably deserving of the Medal of Honor.”
After touring the facility Master Chief Byers presented the PROOF staff with a signed Medal of Honor book which he inscribed, “May we always outshoot our enemies.”
“May we always outshoot our enemies.”