Major General Stewart R. Byrne grew up in Louisville, KY working in the family floral shop. His flying career started as a cadet in the University of Louisville ROTC and was commissioned as a 2dLt.
In 1962 he began pilot training. After graduation, he was an IP in the T-33 and T-38 and went on to fly the F-100 Super Sabre. With only 50 hours in the Hun, he headed to Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam and flew 294 combat missions from 4/1967-4/1968.
An incident with a bomb exploding as it was released from the aircraft caused over 300 holes and a raging fire, yet Stew was able to safely land his F-100.
In December 1967 President Lyndon Johnson awarded then Capt. Byrne a Silver Star for a mission he flew earlier in the year. The President’s visit was a surprise to all.
Stew was also awarded 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 15 Air Medals for his aggressive pursuit of the enemy especially when troops were under fire.
After Vietnam, Byrne served at Lakenheath in England then headed back to the States where he married Megan. He returned to England and then served in Germany, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Libya. At one point his squadron sat nuclear alert with (Capt) Byrne as the Squadron Weapons Officer.
After 9 years in the active Air Force, Stewart returned to Louisville to fly the RF-101 Voodoo with the Kentucky National Guard.
He later became commander of the 150th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flying the RF-4C Phantom II.
General Byrne joined the Kentucky Air National Guard in 1971, where he held the positions of squadron commander, and wing deputy commander for operations. He returned to active duty in 1982 as the Air National Guard advisor to the commander, Ninth Air Force, and later served as the advisor to the commander, Tactical Air Command.
In July 1990 he returned to the Kentucky Air National Guard serving as vice wing commander and commander of the 123d Airlift Wing.
In May 1995 he assumed his present position as ANG assistant to the commander, Pacific Air Forces. He is a command pilot with more than 5,600 flying hours and 294 combat missions.
Sources: Video (see video tab, and http://www.nationalguard.mil/portals/31/Features/ngbgomo/bio/4/459.html)