Son of Byron flies jet tanker in Persian Gulf WAR IN THE GULF

February 04, 1991|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- The 35-year-old son of Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-Md.-6th, is among the U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf, one of only five servicemen taking part in Operation Desert Storm who has a parent in Congress.

Kimball Byron, a captain in the Air Force Reserve, has been flying KC-10 tankers -- which refuel bombers and fighters -- in the gulf since the day after Christmas.

Mrs. Byron, a member of the Armed Services Committee, talked to her son about a week ago. "He just said he was pleased with my vote" (supporting the authorization of military force to drive Iraq from Kuwait, said the Frederick Democrat.

"He was more concerned about how his kids were doing and how his stock investments were doing."

Captain Byron, who is married and has two children, was a pilot for USAir in Greensboro, N.C., when he was called to active duty in December. One of the congresswoman's three children, he left active duty in 1989, after being stationed at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif., and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C.

Mrs. Byron said her son also flew KC-10s in the late 1980s in Saudi Arabia during the escort mission for Kuwaiti tankers.

Also serving in the gulf are the sons of four other House members: E. "Kika" de la Garza, D-Texas, Jerry F. Costello, D-Ill., Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and Doug Barnard Jr., D-Ga., according to Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

Mrs. Byron, chairwoman of the Military Personnel and Compensation subcommittee, has been a strong backer of using military force to drive the troops of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. She joined 249 House members on Jan. 12 in granting that authority to President Bush.

While addressing her colleagues on that date, Mrs. Byron did not mention her son specifically but noted that the troops were looking to Congress for support.

"Our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers serving in the gulf are looking to the Congress for support and assurance," she said, "assurance that Americans will support their efforts and assurance that, if they enter combat, they will be given all means at their disposal to accomplish the commander in chief's military and political objectives as quickly as possible, and with as few casualties as possible."

Mrs. Byron said she was moved while visiting with U.S. troops in Germany that were headed for the gulf. "They still haunt me," she said.

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