Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Army Spc. James A. Butz

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. James A. Butz, 21, of Porter, Ind.

Spc Butz was assigned to 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., died Sept. 28, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by an improvised explosive device.

Spc Butz, a combat medic, was killed by an improvised explosive device when running to assist two wounded servicemen, who also died in the attack.

Spc Butz graduated from Cherstefield High School in 2009 where he played football and wrestled. He was certified national firefighter and was a Porter Fire Dept. cadet. He joined the Army in 2009. He deployed to Afghanistan in June. This was his first deployment.

Adjutant Gen. Marty Umbarger called Butz a true American hero and told his parents, John and Mary Jane, and brothers John and Will, "You should be very proud of your son and brother."

"Medics are an interesting breed," Chaplain David Meyer, of the 3rd Brigade combat team of the 82nd Airborne, said during a graveside service at Chesterton Cemetery.

"(Medics) are guys who are designed, trained, wired to help others," Meyer said. "They don't focus on their own safety. There is no higher commendation for a medic than he gave his life helping others."

Chris Richardson, freshman football coach for Chesterton said, "Jim was an energetic young man who worked really hard, was always punctual and made everyone around him a better person because of his work ethic."

"Jim is a man who raced to save two others," said Rev. Jane Aicher during the sermon. "Jim ran the race of a hero. Jim's race has been run, and Jesus met him at the finish line."

"Jim knew his reason for being, and he acted on it," Aicher said.

In their last conversation two weeks prior to his son being killed, Jim told his father, "Dad, I really, really love what I'm doing."

"He was a great kid," his father said. "He had a wonderful personality. He was strong. He was bright. He had a gift of gab. He was a born leader."

"I think we knew the possibility existed. We knew for the past two years he could be deployed," he said. "It's a tragedy, but he died doing what he liked. He'll always be my hero."

Members of Chesterton High's football team wore their jerseys and lined up along the procession route with their coaches to support the former Trojan player when he was brought home for burial.

Spc Butz's awards and decorations include:
Purple Heart
Army Commendation Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Combat Action Badge

Spc Butz was laid to rest on October 11 at Chesterton Cemetery.

He is survived by his parents, Mary Jane and John; brothers, William and John; grandparents, John Butz and James and Elizabeth Frommer.

Army Spc. James A. Butz was killed in action on 9/28/11.

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