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.
“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)