Military Community Shocked

Lt. Col. Brent Percy Byng, commander of the 19th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail on June 23rd on serious charges, including child abuse and obstructing justice. The charges have shocked the military community, given Byng’s prominent role in the Air Force and the special operations community.

Other charges against Byng include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of domestic battery by strangulation…all felonies. The police report indicates that Byng, in a room with children, choked a woman until she was no longer able to breathe. Following this incident, the report indicates that the children fled the room, at which point the 44-year-old Lieutenant Colonel drew a pocket knife and took chase after them. He also allegedly choked one of the children, according to WKRG News, a local television affiliate.

Additionally, Byng is alleged to have tried to take the woman’s phone from her when she tried to phone authorities for help.

Byng’s command was stripped from him once the military was made aware of the charges. An Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) spokesperson informed the press that Byng had only been in his current position for roughly a month before being removed for cause. He first entered active duty in 2007.




The 19th Special Operations Squadron, which Byng commanded, is a key unit at Hurlburt Field, responsible for training and developing air commandos. The squadron’s mission includes providing initial mission qualification, instructor upgrades, and refresher training on various special operations forces (SOF) aviation platforms. The unit’s commitment to excellence and professionalism makes the allegations against Byng particularly distressing for his colleagues and subordinates.

Air Force’s Zero-Tolerance Policy and the Rigorous Standards for Military Leaders

Leadership at Hurlburt Field released the following statement to the press:

“We are aware of the situation regarding the allegations around the arrest of Lt. Col. Byng, and the Air Force is cooperating fully with local authorities. The incident is under investigation by local law enforcement. Further details concerning the investigation should be referred to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office” 

The Air Force has a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior, and Byng’s arrest underscores the importance of accountability and ethical conduct within the military. Further details are expected to emerge as the legal process unfolds. Byng’s situation highlights the rigorous standards to which military leaders are held and the serious repercussions of failing to adhere to these standards.​

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