Charles Lewis Butler

Lieutenant Colonel
Army of the United States
03 September 1927 - 21 June 1972
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Panel 01W Line 048

CIB, 2nd Award

DSC, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (2 OLC), Purple Heart (OLC), Air Medal, Army Commendation (2 OLC), National Defense (2nd), WWII Occupation, Korean Service, Vietnam Service, UN Service, RoK War Service, RVN Gallantry Cross, RVN Campaign


The database page for Charles Lewis Butler

26 May 2005

From A1 to 1W -- Chuck Butler achieved his childhood dream of being a West Pointer in 1946. He left West Point in June 1950 and nearly went directly to combat in Korea. Within six months of graduation he had earned the DSC and the Purple Heart in combat, distinguishing himself in leading his task force to the relief of another unit, surviving an ambush, though heavily wounded, and successfully getting his men to safety.

Though an Infantry Officer dedicated to his profession and service to country to the end, he was equally devoted to his wife and three children as they moved around repeatedly.

LTC Butler served at Ft. Benning, Germany (2nd Armor), University of Mississippi (with the ROTC program), and with the Joint Brazil United States Military Group in Rio de Janeiro. At the end of that assignment, he went to Vietnam for his second tour there, serving with Advisory Team 51. With the fateful battle for the defense of Saigon taking place at An Loc, LTC Butler volunteered to fill in for a brother officer who was medevaced, and was killed on 21 June 1972 serving as advisor to the 31st Regiment, 21st Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He was ten weeks short of turning 45, and three months from the end of his tour.

The U.S. Army Reserve Center in Saco, Maine, was dedicated to his memory in 1973.

From his son,
Lawrence E. Butler
7130 Sarajevo Place, Dulles, Va 20189

13 Jan 2007


by a friend,
Todd Martin II

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Lieutenant Colonel Butler is mentioned in a memorial placed for LTC Burr Willey who also died in the siege at An Loc.

The first photo above was taken shortly before his graduation from the US Military Academy in 1950; the second before his departure for Vietnam in 1971. It should be noted this would be his second tour in Vietnam; he is wearing the ribbons for an individual award of the RVN Cross of Gallantry and the RVN Campaign medals.

Just as the two photos above represent the beginning and the end of LTC Butler's service, so too do the two Citations below reflect his valor during his first and final tours in combat. He rests in Site 225, Section VII, Schofield Barracks Post Cemetery, Hawaii.

APO San Francisco

11 March 1951



1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced.

Charles L. Butler, Second Lieutenant, Infantry
Co. F, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division

Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross
Date action: 15 December 1950
Theater: Republic of Korea
Reason: The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to Second Lieutenant Charles L. Butler, Infantry, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company F, Seventh Infantry Regiment, Third Infantry Division, on December 15, 1950, near Singyang-ni, Korea. He was in command of Task Force Fox, which had been organized in an attempt to relieve a platoon of Company G when it was enveloped by a numerically superior enemy force. While en route to the objective area, his task force was ambushed. With no thought for his personal safety, he was continuously in the forefront of the battle, rallying his men on to their objective. In the ensuing fierce encounter, he was wounded in the left arm. Despite his painful wound, he continued to press his men forward, reassuring them with words of encouragement as they advanced. It was then that he received a second wound, in the abdomen. Even though seriously wounded, he refused medical attention and continued the attack with the assistance of his platoon sergeant. When the order was received to withdraw, he was unable to walk but requested that he be lifted onto the tank so that he could fire the machine gun mounted on the turret to support his platoon in the withdrawal from its encircled position. Through this action, his extreme coolness under fire, though suffering much pain, served to inspire his men, thereby facilitating the successful withdrawal of his force with a minimum of casualties.
Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.

APO San Francisco



1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

Charles L. Butler, Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry
Advisory Team 51 (21st ARVN Division), MAC-V

Awarded: Silver Star
Date action: 6 June 1972 to 21 June 1972
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For gallantry in action: Colonel Butler distinguished himself by gallantry in action during the period 6 June 1972 to 21 June 1972, while serving as Advisor, 31st Regiment, 21st Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Colonel Butler was operating with a task force at Tan Khai to establish and maintain a base from which to provide fire support for the most forward elements of the division engaged in relieving the siege on An Loc. Realizing the importance of the Tan Khai base to the firendly forces, the enemy relentlessly subjected the base to fierce ground attacks and a heavy volume of mortar, artillery and rocket fire. Colonel Butler, without regard for his own safety repeatedly walked the perimeter checking the defensive positions and providing advise and assistance to the Vietnamese in establishing a sound defensive network. Repeatedly throughout this period he exposed himself to the intense enemy fire to request and direct numerous deadly effective artillery and tactical air strikes upon the enemy. He succeeded in influencing the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in the division to probe and expand the perimeter of the Tan Khai base to reduce the enemy mortar and anti-aircraft sites in the area. Through his untiring efforts he was instrumental to the artillery units firing counter mortar fire during enemy attacks. Colonel Butler by his demonstrated courage and personal example inspired and exhorted the friendly troops to excel and to maintain the vital base at Tan Khai. Lieutenant Colonel Butler's conspicuous gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflects great credit upon himself and the military service.
Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his son,
Lawrence E. Butler
7130 Sarajevo Place, Dulles, Va 20189

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 5 Jun 2005
Last updated 05/18/2007