US Army

Brigadier General Michael T. Byrnes, US Army (RET)

February 10, 1946 ~ January 9, 2023 (age 76) 76 Years Old


Michael T. Byrnes

Brigadier General Michael T. Byrnes, US Army Ret., age 76 passed away after a long illness on January 9, 2023 at home, surrounded by family. A native of Bristol, Rhode Island, he was a son of the late Thomas H. and Constance G. (Campanella) Byrnes, Jr. He attended local schools graduating from Colt Memorial High School in 1963 and received a BA from Providence College in 1967, where he was a ROTC student. Upon graduation he was commissioned as an Artillery Officer in the U.S. Army.

His early military career included assignments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Vietnam, Wildflecken, Germany and El Paso, Texas. In 1973, General Byrnes received a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of New Hampshire.

From 1982 to 1984 he studied Mandarin Chinese at the British Ministry of Defense Chinese Language School in Hong Kong and at Beijing University. In 1987 he was posted to the US Consulate in Hong Kong as a military liaison officer. General Byrnes is an honor graduate of both the US Army Command and General Staff College and the US Navy War College where he served as an Army Senior Fellow.

From 1991 through 1997 he was assigned to the US Embassy in Beijing, China as the U.S. Defense Attaché to China. Simultaneously, he was the first American Defense Attaché to Mongolia. General Byrnes was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in 1994 and he was selected for promotion to Major General in 1997. He retired from the US Army on 1 January 1998 after 30 years of service. In 2009 he was inducted into the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Attaché Hall of Fame.

General Byrnes’ awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and Vietnam Service Medal.

In retirement General Byrnes helped US companies to access the China market. From 1998 to 2006, he worked for Rockwell International Operations in China. He reported directly to the President and COO and was responsible for all Rockwell International Operations. In 2006 to 2008 he was the President for Tyco International, China. In this position, he was responsible for establishing Tyco’s corporate presence in China and for promoting Tyco’s multi-faceted business capabilities and diverse business interests in the growing China market. General Byrnes lived and worked in China for more than 20 years. He was active in community affairs and was a Board Member of a number of American business associations.

Returning to Bristol in 2008 he became very involved in the local community and activities including:

Patriotic Speaker Bristol Fourth of July 2000
Original Board Member of the Kickemuit Education Foundation (2007-2008)
Chair of the Bristol Economic Development Commission Since 2009
Vice Chair of the Citizens for Mt Hope Farm (2009-2011)
Board Member, Linden Place Since 2007 Chair of the Investment Committee
Team Leader for the Bristol Comprehensive Plan Update –(2007-2008)
Member of the Zoning Review Advisory Committee (2007)
Member of the RI Education Department’s Chinese Language Working Group (2007-2009)
Board Member, International Engineering Program, URI since 2008
Member of the St Dominic Society, Providence College (2007- 2014 )
Member, Rhode Island Commodores, Governor’s Business Advisory Association (2009- 2014)
Advisor to the RI Economic Corporation on China
Owner of a local business – Olde China Trader
Member, Downtown Bristol Merchants Association
Cofounder Explore Bristol 2012
Founder British Motorcar Festival, 2015
President, Middle Kingdom Advisors, LLC (a China Business Consultancy)
Member La Bella Sicilia (since 2014)
East Bay Chamber Citizen of the Year 2013
Golden Pheasant Award Mount Hope Farm, 2017
Bristol Spirit of Christmas Award 2017
Founding Member of 1SG P. Andrew Mckenna Chapter of the Irish Veterans 2020
Bristol Police Department Certificate of Appreciation 2021

He married his wife Marie-Elena Fasano,a Bristol native in 1968. They have three children; Christopher John Byrnes (Emily), Meredith Byrnes Turner, and Patrick Michael Byrnes(Kristin) and four beautiful grandchildren; Megan Alana Byrnes (16), Thomas Michael Byrnes (13), Declan Christopher Byrnes (13) and Aidan Michael Byrnes (11). He is also survived by his siblings, Christopher S. Byrnes (Mary), CWO John Fitzgerald Byrnes US Coast Guard Ret. (Kitty), Judith A. Byrnes, Anne E. Byrnes-Bailey (Darryl) and Barbara B. Robinson (Dean).
Michael wishes that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, 127 State Street, Bristol, RI 02809, or the 1SG P. Andrew McKenna, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund at donations can be made at any local Citizens Bank location in honor of BG Mike Byrnes or the La Bella Sicilia Society (

Relatives and friends are invited to a Mass of Christian Burial on Monday January 16th at 11:00 AM in St. Mary’s Church, 330 Wood Street, Bristol. A visitation will precede the Mass, in the church, starting at 9:00 AM. Burial with Military Honors will follow at the North Burial Ground, 1081 Hope Street, Bristol.

For online condolences, shared memories, information and directions go to

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Brigadier General Michael T. Byrnes, US Army (RET), please visit our Tree Store.


January 16, 2023

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St. Mary's Church
330 Wood St.
Bristol, RI

January 16, 2023

11:00 AM
St. Mary's Church
330 Wood St.
Bristol, RI

Burial with Military Honors

North Burial Ground
1081 Hope Street
Bristol, RI


Our Lady of Mount Carmel School
127 State Street, Bristol RI 02809
Tel: 1-401-253-8455

1SG P. Andrew McKenna, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund

Donations can also be made at any local Citizens Bank location in honor of BG Mike Byrnes

La Bella Sicilia Society


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