March 01, 2023

Specialist Joe Allen Byington “Joe”, US Army (Ret), Silver Spring, MD formerly of Lee County, VA, died on Sunday February 5, 2023. He was born in Lee County VA, to the late William Nathaniel Byington and Alene Byington. Specialist Byington succumbed to his service-connected illness & military injuries of PTSD & Asbestosis, after being hospitalized on January 10, 2023.

He was born in Jonesville, VA, and was a resident of Jonesville, VA until Nov 17, 1958, when he enlisted in the US Army. Specialist Byington was a student of 1958 graduating class of Pennington High School, Pennington Gap, VA. He had a passion of scuba diving. Specialist Byington was a United States Army Military Police & Armor veteran. He attended basic training infantry at Ft. Jackson, Columbia, S.C., from November 20, 1958 – graduated February 06, 1959, he then attended advanced training for MOS 95B Military Police & MOS 130.00 Armor as an M48 Tank Commander, from February 08, 1959 – May 26, 1959 at Ft. Knox, KY after his graduation his first tour of duty was as Military Police officer at Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland, May 27, 1959 – Oct 20, 1959. Then he volunteered and was transferred to Korea assigned to “A Troop 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division as an M.P. at Pan Mun Jom in Korean DMZ which separates North & South Korea inside the demilitarized zone at Camp Walley. During his 13 month tour, he spent 193 days in the field, with two weeks of day patrol, followed by two weeks of night patrol, in addition to combat patrols. His platoon set up nightly ambush patrols searching for N. Korean infiltrators and searching the DMZ surrounding areas at night. He was sent back to Ft. Knox, KY, after he witnessed two of his troopers in his platoon die from self-inflicted wounds. They wanted to be sent home and couldn’t handle the stress of the DMZ, and because of this he suffered from PTSD. He had Asbestos exposure from M48 Tanks which had asbestos sprayed in tank cabin for fire proofing, and for Agent Orange exposure at Ft. Knox, KY. He retired from the Army, on disability with 100% Service Connection illnesses, which were PTSD at Korean DMZ, ASBESTOSIS-Tanks, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma due to A.O. exposure at Ft. Knox, KY.

Specialist Byington is survived by former wife, mother of two sons, Nila Darlene Byington; 2 sons, Marlon Dwayne Byington, (Stacy Byington & Blanca Shell) and son Joe “Joe Jr” Nathaniel Byington; five grandchildren, (Marlon’s) - Christopher Dwayne Byington, Ashley Danielle Byington, Christopher Gabriel Maravillas, Kimberly Nicole Byington, and (JOE’s) - Max Atticus Lautenschlager. He is also survived by 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Larry Byington, Randy Byington, Darrell “Moe” Byington, Brenda Jones, Rebecca Ledbetter, and Judy Byington; his beloved nieces & nephews; his beloved brothers-in-law & sisters-in-law; many extended family and friends.

Along with his parents, Joe is preceded in death by six brothers, Billy Byington, Charles Byington, Jack Byington, Johnny Byington, David Byington, and Paul Byington. Including his beloved grandfather, Maston “Moran” Byington, and his great-grandfather, farmer, General Store Proprietor, and was Lee County Sheriff, Daniel B. Byington from 1900-1906.

In the words of poet, Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; RAGE, rage against the dying light.” Rest assured; Specialist Byington did not go gently. He fought his final battle with grace, strength, and dignity. He told us that in Korea their custom was to party after a loved one had passed, he said he hopes that his passing is a celebration and not mournful.

Visitation will be Saturday, March 4, from 5pm -7pm at Sturgill Funeral Home in Pennington Gap, VA. Funeral services will follow at 7pm with Pastor Paul Davis, Jr officiating. Graveside services with military honors will be Sunday, March 5, at 2pm in the Byington Cemetery in Jonesville, VA.

An online register is available for the familyat www.sturgillfuneralhome.com

Sturgill Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Joe Allen Byington.