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
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
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.


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

Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: November 20, 1967
Released: March 14, 1973

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.
Funeral services will be held at 2 pm on Sunday, March 17th:
            Grace Episcopal Church
            1314 Spring Street
            St. Helena, CA
(The date is ironic, as Bill returned to the USA on March 17, 1973,
exactly 40 years earlier, after spending nearly 5-1/2 years in
 Final internment will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.


Bill Butler passed away peacefully on March 11th. Bill was born in
Grass Valley in 1941 to Wallace and Zoe Butler, grew up in Los Angeles
and graduated from Stanford University, where he met his first wife,
Julie Davis. A captain in the US Air Force, Bill was shot down over
North Vietnam in 1967, and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of
war, returning home in 1973. After retiring from the Air Force, Bill
attended veterinary school at UC Davis and moved to Calistoga in 1978 to
open his own practice. Over the course of his career "Dr. Bill" loved
and cared for generations of the Napa Valley's animals.
Widowed in 1987, Bill married Teresa Burger in 1989, and together they
built a life proudly centered around their family and faith. As a former
POW, Bill brought his experience to the Kairos prison ministery,
inspiring others and helping them to cope. He loved film and music and
taught himself to play the panio, guitar and bass, singing and playing
in many church choirs.

As a former fighter pilot, his passions leaned towards speed, with
planes, race cars and motorcycles playing recurring roles throughout his
life. As an animal lover, Bill welcomed an unusual menagerie of animals
into his home over the years, including horses, snakes, emus and even an
Bill and Teresa also loved to travel and did so frequently to warm,
sunny beaches around the world. He was never happier than sitting on a
beach, surrounded by friends and family and with a cold beer in his
Bill is survived by his wife Teresa, his sons Peter (Bethany) and Bo,
daughters Sheila (Gib), Carol (Gary), Courtney and Kenzie, and by his
grandchildren Cooper, Payton, Ryan, Wyatt, Holly and Julie.
A memorial service will be held on the 40th anniversary of his
homecoming from Vietnam: Sunday, March 17th at Grace Episcopal Church,
1314 Spring Street, St Helena, CA at 2PM. In lieu of flowers, please
consider donating to the St Helena Public Schools Foundation
(shusd.schoolwires.com) or The Pathway Home (www.thepathwayhome.org/).
More info:  http://tinyurl.com/bc4ftyv


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