A Mount Airy native and third-generation military man was recently promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the North Carolina Army National Guard.
John A. Byrd, a North Surry High School graduate, was honored at a recent pinning ceremony in Raleigh, where his promotion was recognized and celebrated.
Byrd is the son of James and Sandra Byrd of Mount Airy. His father and his late grandfather, John H. Byrd, also served in the Guard.
The younger Byrd joined the National Guard in 1981 as an infantry soldier serving in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 120th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. He was later commissioned as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard in 1984 through Campbell University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, where he completed a bachelor of science in biology. He later earned a master of strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. In addition he has graduated from the Infantry Officer Basic and Advance courses, joint domestic operations and joint commander’s training course, combined arms services staff school, and the command and general staff officer course.
Byrd has held numerous command and staff positions from platoon to corps level. He has served as the senior joint operations analyst at the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.; was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of the 139th Rear Operations Center, XVIII Airborne Corps in 2003; and served as the 20th Commander of the 139th Regiment (Combat Arms) from 2010-2013.
His most recent assignment was Army Chief of Staff for Joint Force Headquarters-NC.
Byrd has received numerous awards during his military career, including the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal with two bronze campaign stars; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal with two bronze stars.
Byrd works for the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory, a division of the North Carolina Department of Justice, in Raleigh. He is a forensic scientist manager assigned tot he Forensic Biology Section. He is also a special agent in charge operating under the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
Byrd and his, Lisa, have three daughters, Erin, Meredith, and Sarah Madison. They live in Spring Hope.