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Association loses historian

Association loses historian

Association loses historian

     Dick Byers was a big man, both physically and mentally. With his death, the 99th Infantry Division Association lost one of its key members. Although Dick cannot be replaced, his work and research will ensure that the 99th will not be forgotten.

     Fifteen years ago, the 99th's place in World War II history was virtually unknown. Many historians had omitted the 99th from their reports or had given negative credit.

     Most members had only their own memories and inaccurate accounts written in history books. Byers was instrumental in getting an accurate 99th history published.

     His collection of maps, aerial photos, and photos have been a tremendous source of information for members, scholars, and historians throughout the years.

     He was responsible for building the War Room, a mini-museum assembled for each annual reunion. Much of the original collection belonged to Dick and was assembled each year at his expense. The War Room has since blossomed into one of the most popular attractions and source of information at any annual convention.

     He became involved in the MIA Project to account for some of the men missing in action during World War II. He provided maps and memories to Belgian volunteers who searched for the remains of men killed during the Battle of the Bulge.

     He was the prime force in assisting Will Cavanagh in writing "Dauntless," the 99th Infantry Division history. He collected pictures and stories, proofread the book before it was printed, and served as a positive influence for Cavanagh.

     He also was a member of committees that built the monument at Krinkelt and made the video, "The Battle for Elsenborn."

     His research on the Battle of the Bulge was thorough and accurate. He was knowledgeable about the 99th's roll in this battle and shared his information with many historians.

     Byers was an important member of the association and will be missed by legions of those interested in preserving the history of the 99th.

— J.R. McIlroy