The medal specifically recognizes Byrne, a lieutenant colonel, for his service in the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) for the Army Reserve Medical Command’s Central Medical Area Readiness Support Group at Fort Sheridan, Ill. In his role as an Army Reserve judge advocate general, Byrne provides advice on a wide range of legal topics to members of the command, from the Uniform Code of Military Justice to federal personnel law, disciplinary matters, human rights, ethics, and law of war. He also plays a leadership role in the supervision of a legal staff at the Office of the Command Judge Advocate.
“I recognize that the Meritorious Service Medal is one of the highest awards in the United States Army, and I am deeply honored and thankful to have received it,” Byrne said. “The award is extremely meaningful to me because it symbolizes my lifetime dedication and service to America as well as my role in protecting its values.”
Byrne began his service in the Army Reserve in 1991. He became a commissioned second lieutenant after graduating as Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) student from Seattle University—he received two degrees, one in business administration and the other in foreign languages—and then was commissioned as a member of JAG after earning his juris doctorate (JD) from Pepperdine University. He also has his MBA from Pepperdine, a Master of Laws in Taxation from Loyola Law School, and is nearing completion on his PH.D in public policy and administration from Walden University.
In early 2007, approximately a year after he joined the faculty at CSU Dominguez Hills, Byrne was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He spent from March 2007 to August 2008 overseas, serving in Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq in a number of roles, including command judge advocate, chief of administrative law, and an escort officer for the minister of defense for the country of Tonga.
With the return to civilian life and the resumption of his faculty position with the College of Business Administration and Public Policy, Byrne continued his service commitment to the Army Reserve. He recently completed further leadership training at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
LTC Byrne also has blended his two lives by becoming the faculty advisor for the Veterans’ Alliance, a student organization that was established in 2009. He said he does so because given his own experience readjusting to civilian life after deployment, he understands and is empathetic to the challenges this unique group of students face.
“I also believe in creating educational opportunities and providing overall support to those brave men and women who have dedicated their lives in service to this country,” he added.
That service to country is something that is part of the fabric of his life. His father was serving in Vietnam when Byrne was born and his brother is also in the military, an officer and doctor who served in Afghanistan and is the recipient of the Bronze Star of Valor.
“I serve this country because I am grateful for every opportunity this great country has given me. I believe that my service helps to keep America peaceful and secure for future generations,” he said.