Melvin L. Byrd

Published 8:39 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 25, 2011

Brigadier General (Ret.) Melvin L. Byrd, 75, passed away Aug. 25, 2011. He was born Nov. 1, 1935, in Suffolk, Va., to Harry and Lenora Byrd. He is survived by his loving wife, Diane; daughters Donna, Melanie (John), Rosslyn (Marcus), son, Melvin Jr. (Vivian); four grandsons, Melvin III “Micah,” Marcus Jr., Joshua and Avery; sisters, Edith Lassiter, Mary Martin, Evelyn Edwards (Morgan); brother, Harry Jr. (Kathleen); and numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents and sister Audrey.

Melvin L. Byrd

He was a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, Suffolk, Va., Howard University, and Babson College, where he earned an MBA. His military education included Infantry Officer Basic Course, Ordnance Officer Advanced Course, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.

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He was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1959, where he spent more than 32 years serving his country, including overseas assignments in Iran, Vietnam (two tours), Korea, and Germany. During his distinguished career he held several command positions, including Commander, 702nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Korea; Commander, Division Support Command, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; Commander, Electronics Materiel Readiness Activity, Vint Hill Farms Station, Warrenton, Va.; Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Europe. His final military assignment was Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Communications and Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, N.J.

His decorations include The Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (two Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and Senior Parachutist Badge.

Known as “Popcorn” to his childhood friends, he was a passionate reader of books and newspapers and enjoyed learning history and engaging in political debate. General Byrd leaves behind a legacy of leadership, family and commitment to service.

Visitation at Graves Funeral Home will be held Wednesday from 2 to 8 p.m. Visitation at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek will be held Thursday from 2 to 3 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, 1160 D St., Virginia Beach, VA 23459, on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 3 p.m. (please allot extra time to clear military gate security). The interment at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors is pending. His family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Howard University for the General Melvin Byrd Endowed Scholarship Fund, 2225 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20059.