News | Jan. 22, 2016

DLA Land and Maritime cements legacy of fallen hero

By Michael Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime

Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime on Jan. 21 paid a final tribute to one if its own, renaming a newly renovated building to honor a fallen hero.

In front of its namesake’s family members, friends and co-workers, the Stephen F. Byus Community Center was dedicated in a ceremony on the installation.

In July 2014, Byus, a supervisory supply specialist with DLA Land and Maritime, volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan to help the Afghan military improve its maintenance and supply systems. On Sept. 16, 2014, his two-vehicle convoy, carrying personnel to downtown Kabul to brief the Afghan minister of defense for logistics, was attacked. Byus became the first DLA employee killed in the decade-long war. He was 39.

"Stephen Byus will certainly be an enduring figure in the noble history of DLA Land and Maritime,” said Navy Rear Adm. John King, commander of DLA Land and Maritime. “After today's dedication of the Community Center in his name, he will forever be a permanent part of this entire installation

Byus began working for DLA Land and Maritime in July 2008, through the DSCC Corporate Intern Program. He helped revitalize the resolution specialist employee-development team and improved the division’s audit readiness.

The 3,000-square-foot Byus Center opened in fall 2014, following extensive renovation of a structure dating to World War I. The state-of-the-art facility can accommodate group conferences, social functions and large meetings.

"The naming of this building is not to commemorate his death but, rather, to remind us of what Stephen Byus accomplished while he was alive,” King said. “My hope is for this community center to be a place for fun—a place where bonds are cemented but also a place where those coming here will recognize our desire to acknowledge those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom and that they will be encouraged to place the same importance on this building as we do here today."

Byus’ mother, Suzanna, joined King in unveiling a plaque inside the center, observed by Byus’ other family members, former coworkers and members of his Navy Reserve unit. Several area leaders, including mayors and congressional representatives, also came to honor Byus.