Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Honoring A Soldier

Today is the five year anniversary of the current war in Iraq. To date, almost 4,000 soldiers have lost their lives fighting in the war on terrorism in Iraq. Regardless of one's personal view on the validity of the war, one thing we can all agree on is that we should support and honor the troops who are putting their lives on the line to keep our country safe.

Today, I would like to publicly honor one such soldier. His name is Russell Byers, and he is my younger brother. Russell spent a year and 3 months fighting in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division. He had been married for 6 months when he shipped out and he was only able to see his wife for a couple of weeks during his deployment when he was on leave.

Russell had to make crucial life and death decisions each day. He survived on very little sleep and faced hardships that I can not imagine. During most of his time there, he had a critically important job and many soldiers lives depended on the decisions he made. I can not imagine the pressure that he was under.

Nevertheless, the Lord protected him and he arrived home safely last October. February 29th was his last day in the Army and now he is reunited with his wife living in Ft. Worth, Texas. I am really proud of Russ and his accomplishments in the the Army. Russell was awarded with the Army Commendation Medal for his superior service in Iraq. He was mentioned by Congressman Randy Neugebauer in the Congressional Record and I would like to share some of what was said with you.

“At this time, I would like to recognize one of my distinguished constituents, Specialist Russell W. Byers, who has recently been honored with The Army Commendation Medal from the Department of the Army.“

Specialist Russell W. Byers is attached to the Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion of the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment. He was awarded this citation by the Secretary of the Army for ‘Meritorious service during combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.’ The award further commends Specialist Byers, stating ‘Your Tactical and technical proficiency, hard work and mission dedication have greatly contributed to the overall mission success of the task force. Your actions reflect great credit upon you, Task Force Panther and the United States Army.’

“This is Specialist Byers’ first commendation, and was presented to him after a one year tour in Iraq. Duties he performed to receive this high honor include being an expert on the Command Post of the Future (CPOF) computer system, where he gathered, analyzed and developed vital intelligence for the Task Force. In addition, he gathered intelligence from HUMINT, prepared summarized reports and organized data, maintaining a complex database that captured all the significant enemy activity within the Task Force’s combat zone."

“In the recommendation letter for this medal, Specialist Byers’ superior officer wrote, ‘SPC Byers’ ability to multi-task and present information in a clear and consistent manner is of the highest military standards. He is extremely diligent and competent in accomplishing all assigned tasks with little or no supervision, while producing dynamic results. SPC Byers leads the way with a ‘can do’ attitude and an outstanding drive to go the distance, even when it requires him to go above and beyond his assigned scope of duties and responsibilities. He is well ahead of his peers in military bearing and fortitude."

“I am well aware that there are thousands upon thousands of soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors that earn prestigious citations such as this, but I am excited that a proud son from West Texas is among them."

“Congratulations Specialist Russell W. Byers; you have served your country with distinction. I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of a grateful nation, and especially your neighbors in the 19th Congressional District. We all sleep well every night, knowing dedicated people like you are defending all we hold dear.”

I realize that I included quite a bit of text but I feel that it is especially important to honor our servicemen who risk their lives to protect our country. Russ, I may be older, AND TALLER!!!, but you are the one who deserves to be looked up to. Thank you for your service Russ, I love you.


Terry Byers said...

I feel so blessed that God gave us two such awesome sons.
Love you, Mom

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Russell, for your service and your example!

Rom. 13:7
"Pay to all what is owed to them:...honor to whom honor is owed."

Thank you, Riley, for your example as well.

Rom. 12:10
"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."