Maj Lauchlin D. Byrd attended the Platoon Leaders Course in the summer of 2000, and then returned to the University of Southern Mississippi to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in May of 2001. Following graduation, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and immediately reported to The Basic School in Quantico, VA. Upon completion of The Basic School in November 2001, 2ndLt Byrd underwent Naval Aviation training in Pensacola, FL before being designated a Naval Aviator in June 2003. That month, 1stLt Byrd reported to HMT-303, MAG-39, Camp Pendleton, CA for instruction as an UH-1N pilot.
In January 2004, 1stLt Byrd reported to HML/A-167, New River, NC and quickly deployed to Al Asad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Upon return, he attached to HMM-261 (REIN) and the 22nd MEU, and after a short TRANS Atlantic float, Capt Byrd returned back to Al Asad in December 2005. While on deployment, Capt Byrd was selected to attend the WTI 1-07 course in Yuma, AZ. Upon return with the 22nd MEU, and prior to the WTI course, he attached to HMM-264 (REIN) and the 26th MEU. During Work-ups, he attended the WTI 1-07 course, then returned to New River to deploy with the 26th MEU. While on deployment, he supported LF6F/LF5F for multiple exercises in Africa, Kuwait, Qatar, and Jordan. His final deployment while at HMLA-167 was back to Al Asad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In November 2008, Capt Byrd reported to HMLA-773 Det B, Johnstown, PA and was assigned as the Assistant Operations Officer. While in Johnstown, he supported numerous training operations to include EWTGLANT TACP Exercises, Exercise Mojave Viper, Integrated Training Exercise, and Reserve Annual Training. While stationed in Johnstown, PA Capt Byrd became the NATOPS Evaluator and Model Manager for the UH-1N, in-charge of all refresher training for UH-1N pilots returning to the fleet. Following two and a half years in Johnstown, he extended his tour with the Reddogs in order to support the squadron’s BRAC movement to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Following his time with the reserves, Maj Byrd attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, VA. He applied to the master’s degree program and received a Master’s in Military Studies in May of 2013.
Upon completion of Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Maj Byrd moved to Camp Pendleton, CA to join HMLA-469. His first few months were spent at HMLAT-303 in order to transition to the UH-1Y Huey. He was designated a UH-1Y Huey pilot in September 2013, just in time to join the squadron at Camp Wilson for Integrated Training Exercise. In the spring of 2014, the squadron deployed to Mountain Home, ID for a DFT. A few months after the exercise, Major Byrd became the Operations Officer for HMLA-469, preparing them for their upcoming deployment to Okinawa, Japan in support of the Unit Deployment Program.
Major Byrd spent the first few months of the UDP as the Operations Officer then changed over as the Director of Safety and Standardization. During the UDP, Major Byrd took part in Exercise Cobra Gold in Utapo, Thailand, the Korean Marine Exchange Program in Daegu, Korea, and Exercise Balikatan at Basa Airbase, Luzon, Philippines. While in the Philippines, he redeployed to Nepal in support of humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations following a 7.8 earthquake that hit in the center of the region.
Maj Byrd has accumulated over 3,100 military flight hours. His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Air Medal Strike/Flight Award with numeral “7”, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.