• Nicolas Checque's Navy Cross certificate

A Navy SEAL killed during a 2012 rescue of an American hostage in Afghanistan demonstrated "unhesitant commitment" and "undaunted courage" during his final moments, according to a Navy Cross medal citation newly obtained by Military.com.

Chief Petty Officer Nicolas Checque’s posthumous receipt of the military’s second-highest combat honor had never been publicly announced until his teammate, Senior Chief Petty Officer Edward Byers Jr., was presented with the Medal of Honor in February. Both men were part of Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team Six, when they conducted a high-stakes night raid Dec. 8, 2012 to rescue Dr. Dilip Joseph, a civilian doctor and director of a charitable organization, who had been taken hostage by the Taliban days before.

While Byers received the military’s highest honor for aggressively disabling enemy attackers while shielding the doctor with his own body, Checque, 28, was the first member of the team to charge the enemy compound.

According to his citation, which has never previously been publicly released, Checque led the team as it approached the compound where Joseph was being held. Aerial surveillance alerted the SEALs to an active guard outside the building, making the team’s approach even more risky.


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