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The Suburbanite
  • Veteran of the Week, Richard C. Butz, U.S. Navy

  • Richard C. Butz grew up on a farm near Scott Air Force base in southern Illinois. Watching the planes flying overhead as a boy made him dream of flying himself. When he graduated from high school, he joined the navy and went to basic training at Great Lakes Naval training Center north of Chicago in 1955.

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  • Military Career
    Richard C. Butz grew up on a farm near Scott Air Force base in southern Illinois. Watching the planes flying overhead as a boy made him dream of flying himself. When he graduated from high school, he joined the navy and went to basic training at Great Lakes Naval training Center north of Chicago in 1955.
    His desire to fly was not initially fulfilled and he began his career as a yeoman at the naval air station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba after getting out of basic training. In 1958 he transferred to Pearl Harbor for assignment to COMSERVPAC Command and stayed there until he transferred to the USS Pyro, AE-24, an ammunition ship. In 1961, he left the ship and went to work in the Secretary of the Navy's staff in Washington, D.C.
    Following his service in Washington he went through training in antisubmarine warfare in Memphis. He was assigned to Antisubmarine Warfare Helicopter Squadron HS-8. He got his chance to fly when he deployed aboard the USS Bennington (CVS-20) off the coast of Vietnam as a crewman on a Sikorsky SH-3A Helicopter  as a combined antisubmarine warfare technician and rescue crewman. He followed this up with service in Patrol Squadron 2 (VP-2) working on P2V Neptune which flew out of Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam and Whidbey Isalnd, Wash. He then worked as an instructor at Naval Air Station Moffett Field in Mountainview, Calif. He retired from the navy in 1975 as an Antisubmarine Warfare Technician Chief Petty Officer.
    Post-Military Career
    Following his retirement he worked in the semiconductor industry in Sunnyvale, California as a field service manager. Later he moved to San Francisco where he worked for an office equipment company as a technical training manager and as a product support manager.
    After his retirement he and his wife moved to Akron, after their son-in-law, George Fernandez, was selected as a first-round draft pick for the Cleveland Force indoor soccer team. Butz then became a deacon in the Catholic Church and was assigned to St. Francis de Sales Church in the Portage Lakes in May, 1998 and served there until his third retirement in December, 2011. He still visits nursing homes and makes sick calls along with helping out at mass at St. Francis and conducting prayer liturgies.
    He has been married to his wife Francis for 52 years. They have six children and many grandchildren. In looking back over his life he feels that “service “ has been his life, from the early days on his dad's farm, holding a job at a service station in high school, his navy career, his business career, and his church service. “To serve others has been a privilege and a joy.”