USA — Face of Defense: Air Guard Instructor Uses Marine Experience

EL PASO, Texas — Air Force Tech. Sgt. David But­ler is a for­mer Marine who’s now serv­ing here as an instruc­tor with the Texas Air Nation­al Guard.

Texas Air National Guard's Desert Defender Air Force Regional Training Center in El Paso, Texas
Air Force Tech. Sgt. David But­ler served 12 years in the Marine Corps before becom­ing an instruc­tor for the Texas Air Nation­al Guard’s Desert Defend­er Air Force Region­al Train­ing Cen­ter in El Paso, Texas.
U.S. Air Force pho­to by Mas­ter Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Click to enlarge

“I absolute­ly love my job down here and the guys I work with,” But­ler said about serv­ing with the 204th Secu­ri­ty Forces Squadron, which oper­ates the Desert Defend­er Air Force Region­al Train­ing Cen­ter.

But­ler is putting the com­bat knowl­edge he gained through his Marine Corps ser­vice to use by prepar­ing active duty, Air Guard, and Air Force Reserve Com­mand secu­ri­ty forces air­men for area secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their train­ing includes mount­ed oper­a­tions on armored vehi­cles, dis­mount­ed patrols, coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions, and sniper and coun­ter­sniper oper­a­tions.

But­ler pro­vides his stu­dents with some Marine Corps-style con­fi­dence-build­ing dur­ing their near­ly 50 days of intense train­ing.

“I tell them up front, ‘I’m going to push you to your lim­its, as far as I can pos­si­bly push you,’ and that’s what we do,” he said. “Com­ing out of here, they learn a valu­able les­son, whether it’s how much they can stand, or who can stand the heat and who needs to be trained a lit­tle bit more.”

The Guard is well known for its sol­diers and air­men who bring civil­ian exper­tise as well as pri­or ser­vice knowl­edge to a mis­sion. But­ler said the real-life expe­ri­ences of all the Guard instruc­tors help in devel­op­ing sce­nar­ios that show stu­dents what they will encounter when they’re deployed.

But­ler joined the Air Guard after serv­ing 12 years in the Marine Corps and two years with Air Force Reserve Com­mand, which brought him to the Texas Guard on a tem­po­rary duty assign­ment.

“I had no inten­tions when I came to this unit of join­ing the Guard until I came down here,” he said.

Since he joined, the school­house has grown to become an Air Force-cer­ti­fied, region­al facil­i­ty with new build­ings, class­rooms and the lat­est mil­i­tary equip­ment.

“We put our heads togeth­er and based off of that and what the [Air Force] Secu­ri­ty Forces Cen­ter requires us to teach, [we] roll that all into one train­ing pack­age,” he said. But­ler works with 39 oth­er instruc­tors, includ­ing oth­er Marine Corps and Army com­bat vet­er­ans, for­mer police offi­cers and oth­er expe­ri­enced Guards­men.

“The dri­ve, the desire to do good and teach these deploy­ing defend­ers is in every sin­gle one of the cadre,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Carl Alvarez, the squadron and train­ing cen­ter com­man­der. “We all give a 110 per­cent every day to these stu­dents.”

Alverez said expe­ri­ence “out­side the wire” in the com­bat the­ater is an impor­tant ele­ment the instruc­tors bring to the table.

“The cadre has fired their weapons in the­ater,” he said. “They have seen it, they have done it, and that is what we are best suit­ed to [teach].”

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