BUTLER, WILLIAM WALLACE RIP March 11, 2013 Name: William Wallace Butler Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O3 Unit: 469 TFS Date of Birth: 29 November 1941 Home City of Record: Los Angeles CA Date of Loss: 20 November 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 2133000 North 1051500 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Refno: 0922 Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated 2013. REMARKS: 73-314 RELEASED BY DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO WILLIAM W. BUTLER Captain - United States Air Force Shot Down: November 20, 1967 Released: March 14, 1973 PERSONAL MESSAGE TO BRACELET WEARERS: I thought since you had worn my bracelet during my captivity, and otherwise offered your support and prayers for me and those in my situation, that perhaps you would enjoy seeing this photograph of four of America's happiest people. This will, at the same time, give me a chance to offer you my heartfelt thanks for your efforts and concern, for you can be assured that without your support this photograph would never have been possible. Our treatment as POWs at the beginning was deplorable. It not only violated all norms of International Law, but also those of civilized law. Surely, if things had continued as they were from late 1967 when I was captured, and before, to late 1969 when the bracelet campaign started, many of the American Prisoners of War that you saw step happily off the airplanes in the Philippines and the United States would never have lived to enjoy the incredible happiness of that moment. In late 1969, there was an improvement in the treatment of the POWs of North Vietnam. Still our treatment was contrary to the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the treatment of Prisoners of War, but it improved. Although we were no longer tortured to write war crime confessions and humane treatment statements, we were still considered war criminals by the North Vietnamese and not afforded the status of Prisoners of War. But, it was an improvement. The food became more tolerable (by POW standards, not yours), and the living conditions were slightly improved. These changes were not as a result of any humanitarian awakening of the North Vietnamese. It was a result of what they found from their constant sampling of American and foreign public opinion; that is, a growing attitude of concern over the POW/MIA issue in the United States. I hope as you join me in jubilation over the successful conclusion of this conflict, however, that you will not forget that 1300 Americans are still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. A full accounting is yet to be received of the Missing in Action. This represents close to three times as many men as you have watched come home. Sure, the majority are probably dead, but how can we be sure? Only the North Vietnamese can answer these questions. They can tell us whether these men were killed in the plane crash, died of wounds, return the remains, and otherwise answer the questions of the MIA families about the fate of their loved ones. It looks like public concern is going to have to take over again. I'll give you more information on myself and current status now. My physical condition overall is excellent. I've gained back a few needed pounds and suffer no serious illnesses or malformations, as some of the men that you've probably seen. Being with my wife, Julie, again, is truly wonderful, as we are both still happily in love. Our two children, Peter, 6, born 8 months before I left the USA, and Sheila, 5, born 4 months after I left, are the greatest! I think "Daddy" is still a novelty around the house, but we are having a ball getting to know one another. My plans for the future are as yet uncertain. Things have changed a lot in America, and I'll need some time to adjust and decide on a future for our family. When I say "changed", I must elaborate, and with these thoughts I'll close. The hair styles, clothes, attitudes, and "face" of America has changed greatly since I left. These things are quite difficult to adjust to, however, in the final analysis, they mean nothing. The important thing is not the face of a nation. It is the spirit. The spirit of America today is no different than it was 200 years ago. The ways in which it is expressed are different by desire, as much as necessity, for we are a creative and avant-garde nation. This has been significant in making us one of the most influential nations on earth. Underneath, however, is the Spirit of America which has done such multiform acts as walk on the moon, or, in the midst of massive war moritorium marches in Washington against a war which divided the opinion of our nation, spoke forth with a united voice on the behalf of those of us who served you in that same war as prisoners in Communist dungeons. We have a marvelous combination in this country of love of freedom combined with love of fellow man. I feel very fortunate to be a part of you. Thanks again so much, and God bless you. ------------------------------------------
Dr. William Butler DVM, resided in California until his death in early March 11,2013.
Bill Butler Funeral Report from Paul Galanti
November 1 in Arlington, Virginia was a warm and very wet day or at least it started that way. Bill Butler. long-term Vietnam prisoner of war, had come to the East Coast for the last time. Stanford grad, pilot and later a Veterinarian, Bill was an Air Force F-105 pilot shot down in November 1967 and remained a POW for more than five years. The entourage from California accompanying Bill's wife Terry, was something to behold. There were about 20 Butlers by my count but it was hard to tell with his great extended family. Joining them were several of Bill's cellmates from room three in Hoa Lo - Gary Thornton, Smitty Harris, Paul Galanti, Jon Reynolds, and Ray Alcorn each with his better 75%.
It was a simple service, but the Air Force honor guard did a magnificent job! The sun came out just as the flag ceremony was starting and the day turned into one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.
Bill's cellmate and good friend Navy Captain Ray Alcorn gave Bill's eulogy and watered the eyes of everybody there including some of the Honor Guard. I suspect many in Bill's family wondered what all the nickels thrown on the grass around his urn meant!
With a very nice reception afterward we knew we had sent our buddy Bill Butler off in fine style.
Paul E. Galanti