Can’t Place the Name but the Fate is FamiliarPosted on 11/11/13 - by John H. Corcoran, Jr.
My roommate at Air Force ROTC summer camp in Myrtle Beach, SC, was the coolest guy with the worst name I'd ever met. His name was Dick Butt. Yeah, I know. Never learned if his folks were naïve or pranksters.
He was a Southern gentleman and a natural born leader. We didn’t even need to hold a formal vote on who would be our cadet squadron commander. Dick Butt was the only choice. He led. We followed.
In the bull sessions that filled the empty times, we discussed careers. Naturally he wanted to become a fighter pilot. He was assigned to the then hottest jet hthe F-4C Phantom II.. And then they sent him to war. The War at the time was in Vietnam. Today it’s a tourist destination.
But even the best jet isn't enough of a shield sometimes, and one fine day Dick Butt got shot down over North Vietnam. His wingman saw two good ‘chutes and marked where the crew had disappeared into the Triple Canopied rainforest below. The Jollys and the Sandies came and looked for him, but they couldn't find him and they couldn’t get him out and the word was he'd become a guest at the Hanoi Hilton.
We had mutual friends at the base where I was stationed and I tried to keep up on his status. A lot of rumors were floated about—including the brutal one that he had died in prison of wounds.
I left the service and I don't recall how I heard a new rumor—that the old rumor was false. Dick Butt was alive and well and still a POW. I had no doubt he was leading whatever men were imprisoned with him. I hoped and prayed he would be home soon.
There was yet another rumor as the men in dark suits finished up their task of designing a table correctly shaped for arranging the release of prisoners of war in Vietnam. Dick Butt would, in fact be one of the first prisoners released. I scanned the list. His name was not on it. I scanned all the lists. No joy. More rumors floated about, including the old one, once again.
I remember seeing his death confirmed in print and thinking about Air Force ROTC Summer camp and how good old Dick Butt, cadet squadron commander, had gotten us through the day's drills and to the BX in time for happy hour and laughter and memories.
But I didn't believe the final rumor until I walked onto the sacred place in Washington, DC, and personally searched and found his ridiculous name carved into that dark marble that is both an ode to heroism and an Absolute Truth.
No more rumors. Good old Dick Butt was dead. And all those years that had gone by —a lifetime really—had gone by without him around. He wasn't there to bring joy to his family, or his new friends, or lead other men with that engaging way he had--all drawl and smiles and cold steel beneath if you doubted him.
And then I remembered what he used to say when people would kid him about his ridiculous name. “Well I wanted a name that covered it all.”
We would laugh back then, in those ridiculous times.
Remembering An American HeroPosted on 10/30/13 - by Curt Carter email@example.comDear Captain Richard Leigh Butt, sirMORE
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
If I should die...remembrances for CAPT. Richard Leigh BUTT, USAF...who made the ultimate sacrifice!Posted on 6/5/11 - byIf I should die, and leave you here awhile, be not like others, sore undone, who keep long vigils by the silent dust, and weep...for MY sake, turn again to life, and smile...Nerving thy heart, and trembling hand to do something to comfort other hearts than thine...Complete these dear, unfinished tasks of mine...and I, perchance, may therein comfort you.MORE
Never ForgottenPosted on 1/25/11 MORE
I wore a bracelet as wellPosted on 10/4/02 - by Gale JI remember the Butt family in prayer every year on his anniversary. For his family I am glad that to learn that he came home in 1986. What a tragic loss for the family and the nation.MORE
I too wore Capt. Butt's MIA braceletPosted on 3/27/02 - by Terry WestI wore this brave man's name on a bracelet in high school and still to this day have the bracelet diplayed in my home. Until recently I had no idea if he had returned home or not. I had always wondered. I am researching my family history and used my research avenues to locate Capt. Butt. I was very saddened by what I found.MORE
This was a horrible, horrible war and we shouldn't have been involved. My heartfelt sympathies go out to all the families affected by it.
Richard L. ButtPosted on 1/1/02 - by Carol NelsonI wore and still have his MIA bracelet.
Just rememberingPosted on 12/9/01 - by Caryl WilhoiteI remember seeing Richard Butt get into his car with his wife and baby the day he left for Vietnam. They lived in the same apartment complex as my husband and I did. To my sorrow he never returned to Norfolk. I have seen his name on the wall, and I remember.MORE
I AM A SCHOOL BOYPosted on 9/25/01 - by Bryan Spong
My name is Bryan Spong. This is in relation to Richard Leigh Butt whose name appears on The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Panel 12E line 53. I am visiting Washington DC on a class trip and the teacher asked us to get to know the story of one veteran. I chose Mr. Butt because my mom had some information on this man.
During class we have learned much about the war. I always thought veterans deserved memorials but it was not until I learned about this war that I came to know how much they needed one. This was a terrible conflict and if anyone who reads this has information please send it to...
RIPPosted on 9/24/01 - by W Blackfor details: http://www.pownetwork.org/bios/b/b112.htmMORE
Capt. Butt is not MIA. Now KIA and returned 1986.
This is the gentleman whose name was on the MIA wristband I wore for several years in the 1970's. On the announcement that he had been returned home in 1986 I took the band and left it in a fitting spot up in the Colorado Rockies.
Rest in Peace.
The Wall of Faces
Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.
All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.