Honoring Mr. Norman Butler: A Veteran's Journey

By Maj. Javon Starnes, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command public affairs officerApril 4, 2024

Mr. Norman Butler
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DAEGU, Republic of Korea – In the heart of South Korea, amidst the vibrant and bustling city of Daegu, resides a man whose life story is a testament to resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment—Mr. Norman Butler. A retired U.S. Army veteran, Mr. Butler's journey is a staple reminder of the American journey, sacrifices, and costs made by Veterans.

Depth of Knowledge
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Born on January 17, 1934, Butler grew up in a time of adversity and hardship, facing challenges that shaped his character and iron-clad commitment to the United States military. He answered the call to serve his country during tumultuous years of segregation, discrimination, and war. No matter the circumstances, Butler chose to serve honorably as a U.S. Army Medical Department Soldier through life's trials.

Fondest moments
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Butler's eyes widened when asked about one of his fondest memories during service. While mentioning the 1988 Paralympics, where Butler volunteered to host the entire team, he vividly began to create cinematic scenes through his iconic imagery, storytelling, and memorabilia. “The disabled American Veterans needed someone to take care of them when they got to South Korea,” he explained. “We took care of them when they got here. We sponsored tours—DMZ tours. They (the local government) gave us Korean policemen escorts,” he added while holding up his favorite image highlighting the culminating group picture.

The 1988 Paralympics team
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After the athletes completed the Olympic games, Butler explained how he introduced them to famous basketball players and enjoyed every second of his experience.

Throughout his military career, Butler's unwavering dedication to his fellow soldiers was evident in every action he took. As he managed medical supplies, ensured their serviceability, and provided care to those in need, he became a beacon of hope and compassion on the battlefield.

Amidst the chaos of war and the uncertainty of the times, Butler stood firm, embodying the values of courage, sacrifice, and selflessness that define the Vietnam and Korean War generations. His service spanned significant historical events, from the war and the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Apollo 11 moon landing and the Vietnam ceasefire.

After retiring from the military in 1974, Butler embarked on a new chapter of his life—one that would lead him across oceans to the vibrant landscapes of South Korea. Settling in Daegu, however–he found love in the charming city of Yeosu, where he met his beloved wife, Kumja Butler. Norman and Kumja built a life filled with love, laughter, and cherished family moments.

Army Veteran
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Mr. Butler's commitment to service extends beyond his military career. He continues to support the U.S. military stationed in South Korea. A familiar face at Camps Walker and Henry, he actively participates in garrison events, attends multicultural gospel services, and frequents the local commissary and post exchange. His presence is a testament to the enduring bond between the United States and South Korea, forged in shared sacrifice and mutual respect.

Team 19 memories
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In the eyes of his family and the local Korean community, Butler symbolizes enduring strength, love, resilience, and a life dedicated to service. From the Team 19 family to the Butler legacy, we say, "Thank you for your service!"

168th Multifunctional Medical Battalion (MMB)
(Photo Credit: 168th Multifunctional Medical Battalion (MMB)) VIEW ORIGINAL

Fun Fact: Mr. Norman Butler is a proud recipient of the Army Medical Department’s Order of Military Medical Merit, a prestigious recognition that celebrates excellence, integrity, and professional competence within the Army Medical Department. His induction into this esteemed order is a testament to his outstanding contributions and lasting impact on Army Medicine. Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbdZd1IPCVU to hear his story.

To learn more about joining the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command visit https://www.army.mil/19thESC or visit our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, X, and YouTube.