29, of Sparks, Nev.; assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Troop, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, in Fort Carson, Co.; killed July 23 when his convoy hit an explosive device.
Carson remembers fallen colleague
FORT CARSON, Colo. — A captain killed in Iraq was remembered July 30 as an impeccable soldier and leader who loved his command and put his troops’ welfare above all else.
Capt. Josh Byers was killed July 23 when a homemade bomb was placed under his Humvee outside Ramadi, Iraq.
“We lost one of our best and brightest last week and the world is now a darker place,” Lt. Dan Lawrence, who served with Byers, said at a memorial service at Fort Carson.
Byers, 29, is the 13th Fort Carson soldier to die in Iraq. The funeral and burial tentatively were planned for Aug.2, at Lisbon Presbyterian Church in Mountville, S.C.
About 600 soldiers — some back because of combat injuries — wives of troops still in Iraq and others crammed Soldier’s Memorial Chapel.
They told stories about how he could make people laugh in the toughest times. How he once pulled on red, white and blue boxer shorts and wrapped a Kuwaiti flag around his shoulders like a cape and struck a pose.
“He proceeded to stand by for photos,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Watson, who witnessed the morale-boosting antics.
Others recalled heroic acts, including his tiptoeing into a minefield to rescue children who had ventured there in search of firewood and pushing a fellow captain behind a wall as shrapnel poured down on them.
“Afterward, he said he didn’t remember doing it,” said Capt. Jesse Sellars, Byers’ best friend. “He was the finest among all of us.”
Byers, a 1996 West Point graduate, commanded Fox Troop, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
He was married to Kim Byers and was the son of Baptist missionaries Lloyd and Mary Byers and himself was a Southern Baptist lay leader. His parents are director of missions for the Guam Baptist Association. Lloyd Byers earlier served as a pastor in Sparks, Nev., Mountville, S.C., and Mt. Airy, Ga.
Byers attended high school in Sparks, Nev.
— Associated Press
In Joshua T. Byers’ last letter to his wife, he talked about the chicken races his unit held to celebrate July 4.
“It was a good Fourth of July, a good time for soldiers. It was as good as it could be for them,” Kim Byers said.
“He mentioned God’s plan is always perfect. He said, ‘There is a reason we are going through what we are going through now. We will know that plan later.”’
Byers, 29, died July 23 when his convoy was attacked in Iraq. He was stationed at Fort Carson.
Byers was the son of Baptist missionaries, and was a Southern Baptist lay leader himself. He also was the older brother of Milam and Jared Byers, lead guitarist and drummer, respectively, for the Christian rock band Bleach.
“His whole life, this was all he wanted to do,” Milam said of his brother’s military career. “He worked hard to get into West Point, and when he was at West Point he worked hard to be the best there.”
— Associated Press
Former Nevada man killed in Iraq
SPARKS, Nev. — A graduate of Reed High School in Sparks is among the latest casualties of the war in Iraq.
Capt. Josh Byers, 29, was killed July 23 when the convoy he was riding in was ambushed near the town of Ramadi, about 60 miles west of Baghdad, family members said. Seven others were injured.
The Army ranger and paratrooper was a company commander in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and was most recently based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was deployed to Iraq in April.
It is with a heavy heart that I remember your birthday knowing you cannot celebrate it with us earthly souls. At least your memory shines bright in all of those you've touched in so many ways,"
"To the Byers family,
It is with great honor I pay tribute to your son. Memorial Day has a special meaning for him and others like him who fell in battle in defense of our great Nation. His picture, along with 62 others having ties to Nevada, is on display in each Armory in the Nevada Army National Guard. Life left you Joshua before honor did. On this Memorial Day and others to follow, I'll always remember a bible verse stating, "God sees all sparrows that fall."
Brigadier General Zachary F. Doser"
"I just saw your gold star on HGTV Christmas in the white house. I google your name and show my children who you were and the sacrifice you made for our freedom of our country. Thank you and my prayers to your family during the holidays. God bless the Haxby's"