Captain Joshua T.
Byers Gives Family, Country Ultimate Final Gift;
Love of God, Family, Country Marks Hero's Life
Memory of Band Members¹ Brother
Nashville, Tenn., July 30, 2003 U.S. Army Captain Joshua
formally decorated for his military excellence and known among
closest to him for his deep commitment to faith, family and
country, was killed in
action in Iraq, Wednesday, July 23. Bleach band members Milam
seek to honor their brother along with family and friends.
Following one of the greatest successes of the war on terrorism
death of Saddam Hussein's sons, Captain Byers was on route
when his vehicle was struck by a remote-controlled bomb killing
severely wounding others.
Assigned only 40-days prior to his death as the company commander
Troop, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based
in Fort Carson,
CO, Captain Byers was an Army Ranger and did special operative
The Cavalry unit in which he served is the most decorated
in the Army.
"Josh was our hero," says his youngest brother,
Jared. "He risked his
life everyday and would not have had it any other way. Josh
loved his family
more than anything in the world, and he loved his country.
I know that he
felt a calling from God for his service, and God made him
a hero, not just
in his death, but his whole life."
Early in his life, Captain Byers knew he wanted to be in
After joining the ROTC program in high school, attaining the
possible, Commander, as well as being named high school class
Byers later attended the prestigious United States Military
at West Point, graduating in 1996 with high honors.
Following graduation from USMA, Josh completed Airborne and
Training. His first post was at Fort Stewart, GA from where
he was deployed
for six months to Kuwait in 1998. He and his wife, Kim, then
moved to Fort
Leonard Wood, MO where he completed his Officer Advanced Course
and received a Masters in Engineering degree graduating with
honors at the top
of his class from the University of Missouri Rolla. The couple
to Fort Carson, CO and Josh was assigned to the General¹s
staff. He soon
became Aide-de-Camp to Commanding Major General Charles Campbell.
"General Campbell called our parents this week to tell
us how much he
loved Josh and said that there was not a better soldier anywhere,"
Byers. "There have been numerous reports about how Josh¹s
saved many lives. We have been told that one time he saved
that were in harm¹s way. Another soldier had a family
member call Kim to
let her know that Josh saved his life three times! Josh would
tell us OI
know I¹m on the front lines too much, but I love my troops,
I love my men
and I love my country. I¹m going to do all I can to make
sure they come
In a Colorado Springs Gazette feature that ran July 26, Captain
former commander, Lt. Col. Toby Green was quoted as saying
that Josh was
"universally loved in the squadron Josh was a great pick-me-up
time. His dream was to become a company commander of a Cavalry
"While in Iraq, he became company commander of the Fox
Troop, one of the
best Cavalry units in Iraq with 140 troops under his command.
He was so
proud to be chosen to be commander of this unit. He also did
a lot of the
volunteer work on his own to help his country, risking his
"While in Iraq, he told us how a child whose father
was just killed was
crying for her mother,"continues Jared. "Josh scooped
the girl into his
arms and held her safe until he could locate her mother. Another
Josh went out into a minefield to rescue an Iraqi boy. A fearless
respected by his troops, Josh also loved children. He and
his wife were
hoping to have children of their own when he returned from
The Gazette feature also quoted Captain Byers' wife, Kim,
every letter he would write about how much he loved command.
It was his dream.
It was what he felt he was born for. He would say, Oh! I love
my soldiers: I
would do anything for them."
As Bleach members, who all loved and respected Josh, [the
guys] considered canceling
the current Bleach tour to give the family time to grieve,
and Jared realized that Josh would not have wanted the band
"Josh would have told us to carry on," says Jared.
"He would go on and
on about how proud he was of us. 'Oh, You are my hero,'he
would say. He was
Bleach's No. 1 fan. Before he left for Iraq, he made me promise
taking care of business with the band, as he took care of
Iraq. He thought of everyone in Bleach like his brothers.
He even made Sam
[Bleach guitarist] promise to take care of his little brothers
"One of the ways we want to honor Josh is to not let
his story be
forgotten,"says Bleach member Sam Barnhart. "Over
the last few weeks, he
said that he was worried about us here in the states forgetting
soldiers. Many of us think that the war was over and won when
reached Baghdad, but Josh reminded us that, really, the war
had just begun
and that brave men are laying down their lives everyday."
Sharing that story on the road, Bleach decided to continue
albeit doing acoustic sets instead of their usual full rock
where possible. Guitarist, Milam, and drummer, Jared, while
temporarily off the
road to tend to family, will soon rejoin the band with a renewed
to honor the memory of their hero, Captain Joshua T. Byers.
Prior to Wednesday¹s news, Bleach had already decided
to dedicate its new
album, due to release nationally in October, to Josh and his
Milam had also already written a song inspired by Josh that
featured on the album. Josh further sent a photo of himself
in Baghdad with the
word BLEACH written with black tape across the face of a Hussein
band plans to feature the photo in the album artwork.
Giving up his life at 29-year-old Captain Joshua T. Byers¹
greatest gift fell on his mother¹s birthday. Captain
Byers is survived by
his wife of 5 years, Kim, his parents Lloyd and Mary Byers,
missionaries to Guam, and brothers Milam and Jared.
Memorial services for Captain Byers are scheduled July 30
at 1:00 p.m. in
Fort Carson, Aug. 2 in Mountville, SC, and Aug. 10 in Reno,
NV, at the
church he attended during his teen years through high school
The military will provide 21 gun salutes at the services for
Contributions can be made to the Byers¹ family at any
Academy Bank, Air
Academy National Bank or Armed Forces Bank location. Memorial
also be made to the Guam Baptist Association, PO Box 326008,