John Alden Butterfield, was born in Elmira, NY on March 15, 1937. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the Class of 1959 and completed flight training in New Iberia, LA in February, 1961 (multi- engine advanced training/primarily for S2 pilots) .
After further training at Norfolk, VA and Key West, FL , he joined VS-39 in Quonset Pt RI in 1961 assigned to the USS ESSEX, his squadron was involved in Cuban Missile Crisis. For thirty plus days, they flew around the clock, non-stop. After that tour, John was selected for graduate school at Harvard Universitywhere he earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration (proficiency flying in S-2, SNB).
Next assigned to USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, CO/Assistant Prof Political Science, proficiency flying in T-29, T-39, and few hours in C-47. Spent summer of 66 in Gulf of Tonkin with CTF-77 Staff, which included missions in various Navy and Air Force aircraft in Southeast Asia.
Departed Colorado summer 68, headed for S2 squadron, but quickly became volunteer/plankowner with VAL-4 which deployed from North Island to Vietnam. Flew OV-10 Bronco aircraft/Light Attack mission, primarily in support of Riverine Warfare forces, but also provided close air support missions for numerous U.S. and Allied units in South Vietnam and the "Parrot's Beak" on the Cambodian border. The "Black Ponies" established a grand reputation for 'can do' and Butterfield received the lst of 21 Air Medals (see photo) as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross and other awards. Highlight was serving as a Det O-in-C and working with some of the very best pilots and sailors in the Navy!
After Viet Nam, the Armed Forces Staff College, Joint Staff duty with NORAD, a CNO Study Group, and training Advisors going to Vietnam kept Butterfield busy on the ground, while flying S2, T-29, and T-39 aircraft.
Volunteered to become Naval Attache to Iran; learned the Farsi language (which later became useful when he was a member of Delta Force, going to the desert for the Hostage Rescue Attempt in 1980). After 2 yrs in Tehran, Iran, assigned as XO/CO of VT-28 flying S2 and later T-44 aircraft.
Next Naval War College 77-78 before on to U.S. Naval Academy as Division Director U.S. & International Studies (and flewthe "Kachina Varga" as part of the Naval Academy light plane flying program). Spent the summer of 1980 on 6th Fleet Staff in the Med. In 1981 became CO of NSA Souda Bay (Naval Support Activity). Flew a Cessna 172 which was operated in conjunction with NAMFI (NATO Missile Firing Installation).
Finally had to 'pay penance' with a Pentagon tour; both DoD and Navy Staff positions, before being selected as CO NAS Agana, Guam. Flew C-12 aircraft primarily (but also logged some 'Huey' and P3 time). From 1986 -89, Butterfield served as Chief of Staff COMNAVAIRPAC, a most demanding, final tour of duty, but Butterfield managed to log considerable time in the C-12, S3, P-3, plus whatever 'rides' he could steal (including a flight with the Blues in the F/A-18, and one with a Top Gun "Tomcat.").
John says his career was fun, varied, and challenging, and 'cuz he loved it, he would do it all over again! And wife Priscilla, his right arm throughout, would sign up as well, despite moving 26 times in a 30+ yr career.
Upon retirement, l July 1989, Butterfield began his 2nd career in the physical fitness, health promotion, sports worlds. The highlight was 1991-1993 serving as Executive Director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports (PCPFS) where he worked for the Chairman Arnold Schwarzenegger. Butterfield now works with the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association based in North Palm Beach. John & Priscilla are active physical fitness devotees and keep up their involvement with local and national running organizations. John serves as President, Palm Beach Chapter of USNA Alumni and the founding Executive Officer of Mc Campbell's Aces.
Viet Nam, 1969
Below: Guam, 1986