Duty. Honor. Country.

These three words were made famous by Gen. Douglas MacArthur at an address before the corps of cadets at West Point on May 12, 1962. It is a very fitting tribute to the ideals that inspire the American soldier.

For generations, millions of our brave soldiers have embodied those three words on faraway battlefields. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice in doing so.

We are truly blessed as a nation to have brave soldiers who put their lives on the line in past wars and conflicts and continue to put themselves in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan. They really are some of America’s best and brightest, and we couldn’t be prouder of them for all they do on a daily basis, serving and protecting our country.

Chief Master Sgt. Donald C. Butler Jr., a Bowling Green native, knows the meaning of these words. For 25 years, Butler has served our country admirably. Butler is the son of Don and Becky Butler, also residents of Bowling Green. During those 25 years of service, Butler has proven himself as a soldier, joining the Air Force at 27 years old, slightly older than most recruits. During his time in the military, his profession has taken him to many places, some pleasant and others not so pleasant.

One such place that wasn’t so pleasant for Butler – but where he went without hesitation because of his love for country – was Afghanistan.

During a yearlong period in Afghanistan, Butler worked in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He endured 31 indirect fire rocket attacks and was exposed to persistent Green-on-Blue insider threats while performing 96 outside the wire key leader engagements.

Butler guided a team of 132 joint and coalition military personnel, along with 235 civilian contractors spanning 30 occupational specialties in the execution of combat and training operations for the Kandahar Air Wing. Butler served as personal mentor and adviser to the Kandahar Air Wing’s command sergeant major, driving improvements in mission effectiveness, personnel utilization and quality of life of 1,705 Afghan air force members.

For his distinguished service, Butler was recently awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement from Feb. 15, 2018, to Feb. 14. He also was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal, his seventh. The Meritorious Service Medal was for Butler’s work at the 28th Munitions Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, S.D.

The citation that accompanied the award said Butler, 52, distinguished himself by meritorious achievement as Superintendent, 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group, and Train Advise Assist Command-Air, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. The citation goes on to read that Butler also made a recommendation to the Kandahar Training Brigade commander and sergeant major to certify enlisted airmen as professional military education instructors, institutionalizing professional development as a key pillar of leadership in the Kandahar Air Wing. The recommendation was “vital to the reduction in career progression stagnation.” It further reads that Butler’s “guidance and advice invigorated the Kandahar Air Wing’s combat capabilities,” and he helped facilitate the execution of 10,324 combat sorties, transporting more than 1,000 tons of cargo, 22,000 personnel and 3,149 casualties in support of two Afghan national army corps units.

This citation clearly shows that Butler was most deserving of this award. In his years in the service, he has shown his devotion to duty, honor and country and demonstrated how deserving he was of this.

Congratulations are indeed in order for Master Sgt. Don Butler Jr.

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