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Fort Hood Press Center
DATE: March 26, 2013 3:06:30 PM CDT

1st Cav Soldier helps family from fire

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Police officers and firemen help control a hay bale fire March 22, on U.S. 75 North near Van Alstyne, Texas. Spc. Wayne Byers noticed the hay on fire in the back of a pickup truck and helped remove the hay before it burned up the vehicle and its occupants. (Photo by Spc. Wayne Byers, 1st Cav. Div.)


By Sgt. Kim Browne
1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs

VAN ALSTYNE, Texas – While driving north on U.S. 75 through Dallas, the last thing  a person may expect to see is fire coming from the back of a pickup truck -- but for a 1st Cavalry Division Trooper, it was a reality and a cause for selfless action.

Dallas native Spc. Wayne Byers, a Soldier with the 1st Cav. Headquarters, pulled over behind the pickup and began throwing burning bales of hay out of the back March 22 near Van Alstyne, Texas.

“I was headed to get my Mom so we could attend my daughter’s piano recital,” Byers said.

Byers had been following the pickup truck for a mile or more as smoke billowed from the bed. The truck started to pull over and the hay bales caught fire.

He acted by grabbing his thermal undershirt, remembering its flame retardant capabilities, to attempt to smother the fire, but to no avail. He then began pulling the hay bales from the truck and telling the driver to get out and get her children out. Byers then rushed to the passenger side of the vehicle to pull one of the two children out.

After assisting with the children he returned to the pickup and pulled it forward and away from the burning hay. Byers and the others, who were assisting, also pulled the smoldering bed liner from the pickup as to keep the truck from burning up.

“He helped out a vehicle from burning,” said Officer Jonathan Hunter, a police officer with the Van Alstyne, Texas Police Department. “He assisted with removal of the hay bales and further damage to the truck and I would personally like to thank him.”

Once the police and fire department showed up, Byers felt that he had accomplished his mission.

“I just felt that I had to get the kids away and get the fire out,” Byers explained. “I felt like I did what I should have done or what anyone should have done and I would do it again.”

Master Sgt. Dara Wydler, commandant for the 1st Cavalry Division, stated Byers embodies the seven Army Core Values such as personal courage; especially knowing that he could get hurt or burned himself.

“It’s a great thing to have Soldiers like that,” Wydler said. “It makes other Soldiers rethink and relook at themselves and maybe question what they would or would not do.”

For Byers the incident ended just as quick as it had began and for Soldiers like Byers it shows the epitome of the Army Values with emphasis on selfless service and personal courage.


Photograph of Chaplain (Capt.) Emil Kapaun as a 1st. Lt.

Spc. Wayne Byers, a Soldier with the 1st Cavalry Division’s Commandant Section, pauses for a photo March 26 at the 1st Cav. Headquarters at Fort Hood, Texas after discussing the actions he took to help save a family and their vehicle from burning up. Byers noticed hay on fire in the back of a pickup truck and helped remove the hay before it burned up the vehicle and its occupants. (Photo by Sgt. Kim Browne, 1st Cavalry Division PAO)




For more information contact:
1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
(254) 287-9400
Bldg. 28000 Battalion Ave.
Fort Hood, TX 76544
[email protected]