Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Andrew D Byers

Rolesville, North Carolina

November 3, 2016

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
30 Army Capt

Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Fort Carson, Colorado

 Killed in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces.

From The Buffalo News buffalonews.com 11/04/16

Special Forces captain from Clarence killed in Afghanistan

By Lou Michel

Andrew D. Byers was born to serve and to lead.

While attending Clarence High School, he told his friends of his dream to one day attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

When he was accepted, his classmates were impressed. But he was always impressive whether it was as a member of the high school swimming team which won state championships, working on the high school yearbook or attaining high grades in advanced placement classes.

On Thursday, the 30-year-old Army Green Beret captain was killed in a clash with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan.

U.S. Defense Department officials said Byers and Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer, 34, of Greensville, Pa., had been killed and four others wounded.

The son of former Clarence School Board president David R. Byers, his family in North Carolina had received word late Thursday and by Friday the news of the West Point graduate’s death had spread throughout the Clarence community.

“My son was the commander of a Special Forces HALO team and this was his third deployment,” said David Byers. The team was among the elite High Altitude Low Opening units who often parachute in when carrying out their missions.

Byers was on his third deployment. He was sent to Iraq in 2009, then to Africa as a Green Beret in 2015, and to Afghanistan last June.

“He was scheduled to return in early December,” the father said. “Special Forces was his dream. He was a good kid and grew to be a great man.”

The casualties occurred after the soldiers had arrived by helicopter in Kunduz Province for a clearing operation with the Afghan military. After they disembarked from the helicopter, they came under enemy fire, Byers’ relatives were told by the military. More than two dozen civilians were also killed in the joint operation.

Lauren Byers, the twin sister of Andrew, said her brother was devoted to military service.

"I read the NATO report and they were trying to make the area safer," she said of the deadly encounter.

Recalling happier times, she said, “Andrew was a great guy and everybody loved being around him. He lifted others who were around him. He wanted everybody to be the best they could. Before he left in June, he went on a tour of the National Parks. He loved his wife and they loved to travel.”

The 2004 Clarence High School graduate had married the former Clare M. Crites, a year after he graduated 12th in his class of 972 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His wife had graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., David Byers said.

The couple, who did not have children, lived in the Colorado Springs, Colo., area near Fort Carson, where he was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group. Clare Byers was no longer in the Navy, relatives said.

“My brother and sister and I said frequently how lucky we were to grow up in Buffalo. It’s an amazing community and it helped us to become involved in our communities like my brother who went into public service,” Lauren Byers said.

Her parents moved in 2008 to North Carolina after she and her older sister, Lindsay, completed college.

And though they moved, the family is still highly regarded in Clarence.

“We plan to lower the flag to half staff at Town Hall once we receive notification from the governor,” said Clarence Town Supervisor Patrick Casilio, whose family has been friends with the Byers for years. “I can’t emphasize enough what an all-American kid Andrew was growing up.”

The supervisor said he was informed that Byers had offered his mother, Rosemarie, assurances that he would do his best to stay safe.

“Among his last words to his mother were, ‘I’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I promise to wear my helmet,’ ” Casilio said.

Byers was known as a leader since his boyhood.

“He was such a role model from the day I met him as a young kid. He had a reputation of being the nicest guy in the world,” said Chrissy Casilio Bluhm, daughter of the town supervisor. “He was big on the high school swim team, the student council and sports editor at the yearbook where his twin sister Lauren was the editor-in-chief.”

David Byers said the high school swim team was undefeated the four years his son was a member and had won state championships.

When Byers was accepted into the military academy, Casilio Bluhm said classmates were impressed.

“He always had his eye on West Point and it was a really big deal him going to West Point. He was always at the top of the class and in advanced placement classes,” she said.
The Byers family was known for their commitment to Clarence.

David Byers served 12 years on the School Board during a major realignment of the district when the student population was growing at a rapid rate. Family members were also active members at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Clarence, where David Byers was a Eucharistic minister and lector.

“Some remarkable things have been said to me in the past 24 hours and one of them is the verse from Joshua 1:9,” the father said of the biblical passage from the Old Testament prophet exhorting strength and courage. The prophet promises, “…the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The Byers family has also been contacted by his West Point classmates and active duty friends, who have offered their condolences.

Back here, Casilio Bluhm said his death is hard to comprehend.

“You know the risks when your friends go to war, but you never think it will happen to them. Then all of a sudden war becomes a reality,” Casilio Bluhm said of the shock Byers’ death has caused among his many local friends.

It is believed that Byers is the first person from Clarence to be killed in action in America’s War on Terror, according to the town supervisor, who added that Staff Sgt. Mark A. Spence, 24, of Clarence, had died Nov. 8, 2007, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter he was aboard crashed near Aviano Air Base in Italy.

Of Byers passing, Casilio said: “Andrew gave his life defending our country.”

A local service in honor of Byers, his father said, is anticipated at some future point.
from The Denver post denverpost.com 11/04/16

Two highly-decorated special forces soldiers killed in Afghanistan were from Fort Carson
Capt. Andrew D. Byers and Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer died of wounds sustained in Afghanistan

Autoplay: On | Off
By JESSE PAUL | jpaul@denverpost.com
PUBLISHED: November 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm | UPDATED: November 4, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Two highly-decorated special forces soldiers killed Thursday in Afghanistan were assigned to Fort Carson, the Pentagon announced on Friday, becoming the third and fourth members of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) stationed at the El Paso County base to die since the beginning of October.

Capt. Andrew D. Byers, 30, of Rolesville, N.C., and Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer, 34, of Greenville, Penn., died of wounds sustained while fighting enemy forces in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the Army says.

Byers and Gloyer — Green Berets — were assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at the Mountain Post. Both were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart Medal, according to a Fort Carson spokeswoman.

Byers had been in the Army for more than eight years, during which he was also deployed to Italy and last year to the Democratic Republic of Congo. He had been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, as well as having earned an Expert Infantryman Badge.

Gloyer had been in the military for almost 12 years and had completed two other tours in Afghanistan and another last year to the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was a recipient of another Bronze Star Medal (one of his two was with valor), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the Valorous Unit Award. He too had earned an Expert Infantryman Badge.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement that Byers and Gloyer and four other U.S. troops who also suffered injuries on Thursday were with Afghan forces as part of the United States’ train, advise and assist mission called Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

“Some of our Afghan partners also died,” Carter said. “Our service members were doing their part to help the Afghans secure their own country while protecting our homeland from those who would do us harm. On this difficult day, please keep their families, friends and teammates in your thoughts and prayers. We will honor their sacrifice by finishing our important mission in Afghanistan.”

The Associated Press reports that according to defense officials, the U.S. soldiers had gotten off a helicopter and were moving on foot with Afghan forces doing clearing operations in Kunduz province. The defense officials said the troops came under fire and returned fire, but it wasn’t clear whether it was gunfire or other larger rounds.

In a statement, Fort Carson officials said Friday: “It is always hard to lose a part of our military family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Capt. Andrew D. Byers and Sgt. 1st Class Gloyer’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”

In early October, Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, another 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) soldier from Fort Carson, was killed by an improvised explosive device blast in Afghanistan. Thomas, a highly decorated, eight-year member of the Army who had been deployed several times, was also supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Last week, Pfc. Kyle J. Walls, 21, was found dead in a base barracks room. He too was a member of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) stationed at Fort Carson.

Walls, of Ponca City, Okla., arrived at the Mountain Post on Sept. 5 and had only been in the Army for 11 months. His death remains under investigation and authorities have not released details in the case.

Also on Friday three U.S. military members were killed in a shooting outside a military base in southern Jordan, the Pentagon said. Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said the trio were in Jordan on a training mission and came under fire while driving into the base. He provided no other details and said U.S. officials are consulting with the Jordanian government to determine exactly what happened at the base.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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