Capt Joseph Laurence Byrne

Capt Joseph Laurence Byrne

Birth
Elmira, Chemung County, New York, USA
Death 30 Oct 1944 (aged 27)
Biffontaine, Departement des Vosges, Lorraine, France
Burial Epinal, Departement des Vosges, Lorraine, France
Plot Plot A Row 9 Grave 32
Memorial ID 56371468 · View Source
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Joseph "Joe" Laurence Byrne, son of Laurence and
Alice Dalton Byrne, was born on August 24, 1917 in
Elmira, New York. He was one of three siblings—John D.,
Joseph L., and Mary Alice. He attended St. Mary's Elementary
School and graduated from Southside High
School. Joseph was a member of the Boy Scouts of
America. After graduating high school, he was in furniture
sales, but aspired to have a career in the Army.
In October 1940 Joseph was inducted into the Army
(Serial No. 01 309 211) and received his basic training
at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. He served with the 108th
Infantry, Company L and was stationed at Fort Ord,
California and also later at Schofield Barracks, Honolulu,
Oahu. He went on to become the Captain of Company I,
3rd Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of
Japanese American Nisei soldiers who fought to prove
Capt. Joseph L. Byrne
August 24, 1917 - October 30, 1944
Capt. Joseph L. Byrne
their loyalty to their country, and along with the 100th Battalion (Separate), the 442nd RCT would
become the most decorated unit in the United States military history.
Notwithstanding his height of 6 foot 6 inches, the highly respected Capt. Joseph Byrne was considered
a giant in the men's eyes. Written by Dorothy Matsuo in Boyhood to War, " . . . One soldier declared: ‘If
there's any officer that you'd be willing to die for, it would be Capt. Byrne.' Byrne had served in Hawaii as
an enlisted man. He went to Officer Candidate School before joining the 442nd. He knew the men's names
and, as they put it, ‘he was one haole that could pronounce buddhahead names.'. . . ."
Capt. Byrne fought shoulder-to-shoulder with his men in Italy and France, and Thelma Chang in I Can
Never Forget: Men of the 100th/442nd wrote, " . . . ‘Byrne knew the Hawaii boys from the time he
was stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu,' said I Company's Minoru Suzumoto. ‘Byrne stuck by us
all the way. He was a classy guy.' . . . ."
In Honor by Fire writtten by Lyn Crost, " . . . The Nisei loved Joe Byrne . . . He had known Japanese
Americans ever since his Army service in Hawaii before the War. He was one Army Caucasian who
knew how to pronounce their sometimes complicated names. The Nisei knew they could count on
Byrne to be with them in any situation. When I Company faced Banzai Hill during the fight to rescue
the Lost Battalion, Byrne grabbed a BAR from a fallen soldier and charged with them up the hill, his
tall figure a sure target during this all-out frontal assault. For his valor that day he won a Silver Star.
Soon afterward Byrne was killed by a Bouncing Betty mine. But I Company men would never forget
him. They chipped in and bought a loving cup, had it inscribed in his memory, and presented it, along
with his Silver Star, to his older brother, a West Pointer . . . ."
Capt. Joseph Byrne was killed in action on October 30, 1944, one day before they reached the
Lost Battalion in the Vosges Forest in France by a mine blast. He received the Silver Star, Bronze
Star, and Purple Heart and is interred at the United States Military Cemetery in Epinal, France.
Katherine Baishiki/Colonel John D. Byrne
12/25/01 (revised 5/1/03)

Gravesite Details Entered the Service from New York.

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  • Maintained by: David Brown
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 7 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56371468
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Joseph Laurence Byrne (24 Aug 1917–30 Oct 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56371468, citing Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial, Epinal, Departement des Vosges, Lorraine, France ; Maintained by David Brown (contributor 45817871) .