Retired Marine Corps veteran stresses the importance of service
Nov 9, 2023, 4:05 AM
(KTAR News Photo/Ben Brown)
This is the sixth of seven articles highlighting the grand marshals of the 2023 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.
PHOENIX — Hugues Byrne joined the United States Marine Corps in 1976, participating in numerous humanitarian missions across the globe including, delivering aid to a leprosy colony on Molokai Island and being part of the Malaysian Straits blockade during the Iranian hostage crisis.
He later joined the Army National Guard in 2002, and was deployed to both Bosnia and Iraq, serving as a UH-60 crew chief for a medevac company.
While Byrne retired from the military in 2017, his dedication to service remains.
“Service matters because it’s not only the military people that serve in the armed forces, but everybody that serves all of the communities,” Byrne said.
“For example, police officers, nurses, service matters – if we don’t take care of ourselves and serve our country in whatever capacity we can, we’re going to miss out on it.”
He now works with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to support veterans and their families, while advocating for mental health.
“We lost one of our comrades just recently in the VFW to suicide, horrible thing,” Byrne said. “We really need to work on the mental health issues our military members have and don’t demonize it.”
Byrne said the VFW has over 60 locations in Arizona, and is a place “where veterans can come to relax, be at home, talk to like-minded people and not only that, we get an opportunity to help them.”
He underscored the importance of taking care of our veterans, because if we don’t “were going to have a hard time in the future with the voluntary military.”