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A Military Life (Col. Johnnie P. Byrd Collection)

Identifier: MSS-710

Scope and Contents note

This collection covers nine cubic feet and ranges from 1916-2013 with the bulk the material dating from 1957-1986. It consists of scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, certificates, insignia, patches, medals, awards, books, film reels, DVDs, uniforms, and an ammunition shell. The collection contains six standard cubic foot boxes and three small oversize boxes.


  • 1916 - 2013
  • Majority of material found within 1957 - 1986


Biographical/Historical note

Col. Johnnie Paul Byrd was born on June 8, 1939, and grew up in the town of Laurel, Mississippi. He graduated from George S. Gardiner High School in 1957, and began his college career at Mississippi State University. While at the university, he was involved in several honorary societies, including Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma, and Delta Pi Delta. Byrd received the honor of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and was president of the School of Forestry. He also lettered four years and competed nationally on the University Small Bore Rifle Team. Byrd’s military service began with the 101st Airborne Division in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky from 1961-1964, where he served as an Artillery Forward Observer, Artillery Battery Executive Officer, and Artillery Battery Commander. He then served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Sukiran, Okinawa (Japan) from 1964-1965 as an Artillery Battalion Fire Direction Officer. He traveled with the 173rd Airborne Brigade to the Republic of Vietnam from 1965-1966 and was an Artillery Battalion Fire Direction Officer, as well as Assistant Brigade C-3 Operations Officer. Once back in the United States, Byrd became the Assistant Professor of Military Sciences at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana from 1967 until 1969. In 1970, he returned to Vietnam for one year serving as Military Assistance Command, Tactical Air Support Element, and Direct Air Support Operations Officer. Byrd then moved to Ft. Belvior, Virginia, from 1973-1976 to serve as Automatic Data Processing Staff Officer and Tactical Fire Direction System. Beginning in 1976, he relocated to Brussels, Belgium, to serve as the personal advisor to the System Manager of the NATO Headquarters Internal Command and Control System. Byrd then joined the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery in Wiesbaden, Germany from 1977-1979, where he was the battalion commander. He returned to Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, from 1981-1984 to serve at the U.S. Army Computer Systems Command. Byrd’s final military service was at the U.S. Army Military Personnel Center in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was director and Automatic Data Processing Operations Directorate from 1984-1986. Colonel Byrd retired soon after in 1986. During his military service, Byrd went to many military schools and received a variety of awards and distinctions. He attended the 101st Airborne Division Parachutist School, the 101st Airborne Division Air Transportability School, the 101st Airborne Division Jumpmaster School, the Artillery Officers Basic Course, the Field Artillery Officers Advance Course, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College. In addition to attending several military schools, Byrd was awarded many honorable distinctions, including the Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, and Senior Parachutist Badge.


9 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials