Face of Defense: Marine Answers Corps’ Call Twice

WASHINGTON — On Dec. 7, 1987, Der­rick But­ler raised his right hand and swore to sup­port and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic, as a Unit­ed States Marine.
More than a decade lat­er, on July 6, 1999, he swore the oath a sec­ond time.

Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Der­rick But­ler, who had a gap of almost 12 years between his first and sec­ond enlist­ments in the Corps, is a con­struc­tion wire­man sta­tioned at Marine Corps Base Camp Smed­ley D. But­ler, based on Oki­nawa, a pre­fec­ture of Japan.
U.S. Marine Corps pho­to by Lance Cpl. Jovane M. Hol­land
Click to enlarge

Although the cir­cum­stances behind each oath were rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent, both car­ried great pride and a sense of achieve­ment, said But­ler, a St. Louis native. “My first enlist­ment was the result of a Marine Corps recruiter call­ing for my friend, and me pick­ing up the phone. It was com­plete­ly by chance,” But­ler said. “The sec­ond time I enlist­ed, it was because the com­pa­ny I was work­ing for shut down, and I missed the mil­i­tary way of life.”

Work­ing as a cook through­out his first enlist­ment, But­ler was unable to re-enlist at the end of his con­tract and left the Corps as a cor­po­ral. He moved to Mis­souri, where he worked at a man­u­fac­tur­ing and export­ing fac­to­ry. When the fac­to­ry closed its doors in 1999, he re-enlist­ed in the Corps.

The Marine Corps he returned to had under­gone major changes since the late 1980s, but But­ler, now a staff sergeant, said his love of cama­raderie in the mil­i­tary has not changed. “The Corps is still near and dear to my heart, no mat­ter how much it has changed,” said But­ler, who now serves as a con­struc­tion wire­man at Marine Corps Base Camp Smed­ley D. But­ler on Oki­nawa, a pre­fec­ture of Japan.

“No chal­lenge I have faced since my return has been too over­whelm­ing to face. I just adapt and over­come,” But­ler said. Butler’s com­rades are glad he’s back.

“Staff Sergeant But­ler is a main­stay in his junior Marines’ lives, because he has the ‘Marines are fam­i­ly’ mind set every­one needs when things get rough,” said Marine Corps Sgt. Ben­jamin Mar­tin, a tele­phone sur­vey­or who has known But­ler since 2002. “He’s the Marine that gives you the safe­ty brief and instills in you the pride in watch­ing out for the Marine to the left and right of you. I could­n’t ask for a bet­ter staff non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer.”

But­ler said things have changed since his ini­tial enlist­ment. “We fought hard and played hard back in the day, but the day-to-day bat­tle is much hard­er now than it was back then,” he explained. “I’m so glad the tools I acquired in the past help me to relate to and teach the new gen­er­a­tion of Marines today.”

But­ler plans to retire in five years and said he hopes to pick up pro­mo­tion to gun­nery sergeant before that time comes. For young Marines who strug­gle with or expe­ri­ence regret over their deci­sion to join, But­ler shared some words of advice.

“Boot camp may not be a dream­boat, but to trav­el, see the world and embrace so many dif­fer­ent cul­tures can be inspir­ing,” But­ler said. “Peo­ple look up to who we are and what we do for the world. Many of them only dream of liv­ing the life we live. We live it every day.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →