KIA July 20, 2007
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Washington
Army CPL Rhett Allen Butler died July 20, 2007 of wounds sustained when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device about 25 miles northeast of Baghdad in Khan Bani Sa’d, Iraq. The 4th Brigade arrived in Iraq in early May of 2007.
Rhett was born October 17, 1984. His parents named him Rhett after the character of the same name in the classic film, Gone with the Wind. Rhett loved being around people and had a passion for science fiction books and movies. He graduated from Glen Rose High School in 2003 and enlisted in the Army one year later. Rhett arrived at his post the following June after training as a cavalry scout. According to his family, Rhett had to fight hard just to get into the Army, where he wanted to pursue his dream of being a soldier. When he first tried to enlist after his high school graduation in 2003, he failed a breathing test and recruiters suspected he might suffer from asthma. The following year he tried again and passed the breathing test, but this time his body fat percentage was 1 point too high. So he ran twice a day and ate a strict diet of salad and chicken breasts and in 12 days, “he went back 12 pounds lighter and signed the dotted line,” recalled his sister, Shawna. Rhett also tried culinary school in between his enlistment attempts but his heart was set on the military. His father, David Butler, served in the Navy during Vietnam and several uncles and cousins were also in the service. Shawna said her brother seemed to have adjusted to a soldier’s life in Iraq and told her he planned to re-enlist and try to join Special Forces. She remembered, “One time I asked if he was getting shot at and he said, ‘It’s a good day if we’re only getting shot at.”
CPL Butler is survived by his mother, Sereta Ramsey; father and stepmother, Dr. David and Janice Butler; sisters, Shayre Strickland and Shawna Conway; stepbrother, Jarrett Ganer; stepsister, Melissa Ganer; and grandparents, John and Kay Butler.
CPL Rhett Butler was 22 years old from Ft. Worth, Texas
Original portrait was presented to Rhett’s family during Texas Legends Military Night held in Frisco, Texas on January
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