By TYLER WORTHEN/Montana State News
Mike Byrne, is a former sniper turned family man. Byrne, who grew up in Butte, Montana (now living in Bozeman) is one of the most humble men you could ever talk to, be able to call an acquaintance or a friend. Knowing Byrne for the past two and a half years has brought so much real world knowledge and great stories to my own life.
If you look at Byrne, you will notice that he is very physically built (being in a military job like his for 19 years will do that to you). He looks like a man who never leaves the gym and well he doesn’t. The look in his eyes can bring fear to your inner being, deep in your soul.
When Byrne was 17 years old he decided to join the Army and get into the 75th Ranger Regiment; he joined in part due to his family being very rich in military service. When your family serves; you want to serve. That is exactly what Byrne did. The 75th Ranger Regiment was the only area in the services that would guarantee a slot to try out for a Special Operations Group.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a bad ass cool guy,” he said. “I didn’t really have any idea what exactly I was getting into. Nineteen years later, I have yet to achieve cool guy status, but I no longer care.”
However, according to Jarrod Plant, “He is a Badass cool guy. He has to walk around like he is carrying luggage because he is so huge.”
While Byrne was in his prime he tried out for the most elite unit in the Army but inevitably stayed in the Rangers. Reminiscing of those days he said, “I stayed in Ranger Regiment for two reasons: one, because I failed to get into Delta Force, two, because I was built, shaped, configured, or any other adjective describing an atmosphere that slowly transforms you into who you are. I loved our mission. I loved the people I worked with, and I loved the life of being a Ranger.”
Byrne was a sniper in the 75th Ranger Regiment and has many combat deployments under his belt, including eight combat HALO Jumps (High Altitude Low Opening). When asked if doing this job made him a better husband, Byrne had a very long answer: “I cannot answer this question without absolute certainty. I’m not the best husband, because I do not communicate at even the modest of levels. The only thing I can give my service credit for, marriage-wise, is a strong work effort. I knock out the ‘honey do’ list reasonable quick. It’s actually important.”
Seeing Byrne with his kids gives a great view into how military parents approach parenting roles. When Byrne’s wife is away he is the one taking care of their two young children.
He also has a very interesting way of coping by posting “Man-Week” updates. The updates are through social media and they combine problems of parenting with phrases you would use in the military. The most common way of “Man-Week” ending is him being relieved of command for various things his wife disagrees with; usually the use of chewing tobacco. They are incredibly hilarious and they really show who he is as a parent.
“I am deeply engaged with my boys,” he said. “I work very hard to take care of them and not dump the responsibility on my wife (another plus for the marriage sector). A great example of this is, right now at this moment I am solely taking care of my kids while my wife is in Kansas for work.”
Currently Byrne is attending college to try and finish his degree. All the while he is still in the Army being assigned to the Montana State University Army ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) as a Cadrè member. Byrne talked about having to balance everything in his life saying, “I have to balance parenthood, work, school and all the other matters of life. I do not think I would be able to do this if I did not possess the experience I acquired in the military.”
– Edited b: Patricia Morse