Ep 10: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help – Ricardo Byrdsong’s Three Decades In The Navy

On episode ten of Untold Valor, we’re joined by Captain Ricardo Byrdsong. Captain Byrdsong served in the Navy for over three decades, and he shares his story with us, touching on some of the challenges he faced during and after his military service.

We delve into several topics in this episode, including the hidden challenges of being deployed, the importance of military benefits, and the challenge of retiring early from the military due to health issues. Captain Byrdsong also discusses mental health and the value of veterans supporting one another. Throughout the episode, he shares his personal experiences, including his battle with multiple sclerosis and the benefits of making mental health a priority, stressing that asking for help is never a sign of weakness.

Join us as we explore the life of Captain Ricardo Byrdsong and gain insights into the challenges that many veterans face.

Highlights of this episode:

  • 1:12 – Ricardo’s background.
  • 2:45 – The toughest part of being deployed was missing important milestones back home.
  • 4:10 – Ricardo reflects on the blessing of having military medical benefits and his battle with multiple sclerosis.
  • 7:00 – A story to tell. “I got the help I needed. When I needed it. Even though I didn’t think I needed it.”
  • 10:10 – Ricardo says one of the keys to getting help is not being afraid to ask for it.

More About Ricardo Byrdsong:

Captain Ricardo Byrdsong is a retired Naval officer who enlisted in the Navy in June 1986. He received an NROTC scholarship to Auburn University, where he earned a Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Economics. After completing Supply Corps Basic School in August 1992, he served as Disbursing/Sales Officer and Assistant Supply Officer aboard USS PETERSON DD 969 until May 1995. He then served as Food Service Officer and Stock Control/Customer Service Officer at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, MS from 1995 to 1997.

Captain Byrdsong later served as Supply Officer onboard USS CARNEY DDG 64 and as Aviation Support Division Officer & Assistant Supply Officer at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. In 2003, he received a Masters of Business Administration specializing in Acquisitions and Contract Management from the Naval Postgraduate School. He also served at Commander U.S Pacific Fleet staff, Joint Contracting Command Iraq/Afghanistan, Naval Air Systems Command, and the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office.

Captain Byrdsong retired from active duty in 2019 and is now a full-time Executive/Leadership coach. He is married to Sonja Yvette Beachem, and they have four children.

Resources:

Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1    Chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat or Chat by Text 838255

Voice & Vision: https://voiceandvisioninc.org/

CompeerCORPS: https://voiceandvisioninc.org/compeercorps/

Information on how to apply for VA Healthcare Benefits from anywhere in the USA: https://www.va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply/ or call 877-222-8387 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. EST)

To apply for veteran’s benefits and find resources in Pennsylvania veterans need to contact their County Office of Veterans Affairs as listed in this document: https://www.dmva.pa.gov/veteransaffairs/Documents/Outreach-and-Reintegration/countyprint.pdf

To view more about PA’s resources for veterans: https://www.pa.gov/guides/veterans/

Financial support for Untold Valor is provided by a Veterans’ Trust Fund grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

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