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First Name: Jacob

Last Name: Butler

Birthplace: Merriam, KS, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Wellsville, KS
Middle Name: Lee

Date of Birth: 26 April 1978

Date of Death: 01 April 2003

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served: 1998 - 2003
Jacob Lee Butler

•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


Jacob Lee Butler
Sergeant, U.S. Army

On 1 April 2003, then-Sergeant Jacob Lee Butler was serving with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On that morning, 3 scout vehicles were given the mission to conduct a point recon of a bridge in the city of As Samawah, Iraq. The scouts were to determine the classification of the bridge to determine the type of vehicles that the bridge could support as part of a pending assault across the river. SGT Butler's vehicle was the middle vehicle as they approached the bridge from the east. Upon arriving at the bridge, SGT Butler positioned his vehicle facing south in order to provide over-watch as his fellow scouts dismounted to better observe the bridge. As SGT Butler was getting his vehicle into position, the lead scout truck identified personnel on the north side of the river carrying weapons and rocket propelled grenades. Almost immediately, the lead scout vehicle came under enemy fire, with a rocket-propelled grenade impacting just in front of the vehicle commander's door. The explosion wounded the vehicle commander and blew the driver from the vehicle. SGT Butler immediately began maneuvering his vehicle into position to better support and assist his fellow scout's disengagement. As SGT Butler began maneuvering his vehicle into a better position to provide covering fire for the withdrawal of his fellow wounded scout and the other 2 scouts, his vehicle came under heavy enemy fire. Even as the enemy rounds were impacting the truck, SGT Butler continued to direct both his driver and gunner in the support of his comrades through a hail of 7.62 bullets less than 50 meters away. Once SGT Butler's comrades had maneuvered back to the trail scout vehicle for withdrawal, his vehicle maneuvered in behind them to continue to provide cover as the scout section withdrew. During this maneuvering under enemy fire, SGT Butler sustained mortal wounds. Although medics at a nearby checkpoint attempted to save his life, they were unable to do so. SGT Butler's valorous actions, although fatal, enabled the safe withdrawal of the remaining 7 soldiers of the reconnaissance patrol. SGT Butler's actions not only enabled the safe withdrawal of 7 uninjured soldiers, they also saved the life of his 2 wounded comrades. Due to SGT Butler's actions the scout mission resulted in a successful assault 2 days later by crossing the very bridge on which he died while gathering information. SGT Butler's selfless, courageous actions that day earned him the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Bronze Star Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Combat Infantryman Badge

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant Jacob Lee Butler, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, during combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, on 1 April 2003, in Iraq. Sergeant Butler's gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.


Sergeant Jacob Lee Butler is buried at Wellsville Cemetery in Wellsville, Franklin County, KS.


Honoree ID: 3713   Created by: MHOH




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