Father Butler says farewell

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica C. Donnelly
  • 131st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Michael Butler, 131st Fighter Wing chaplain, said farewell to the 131st Fighter Wing September 6 as he prepared for his transition to the active duty Air Force after serving more than 20 years with the Missouri Air National Guard.

Father Butler will be stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio as the deputy wing chaplain, said Maj. Scott Doby, who replaced Father Butler as the 131st FW wing chaplain.

At the stage in his career when many would be considering retirement, Father Butler, who has deployed more than 11 times during his career, decided to go where he could do the most good.

He explained, at the end of World War II there were 5,000 Catholic priests in the U.S. Armed Forces. Today, there are less than 300. Only 74 of the priests are active duty Air Force and there are 18 Air Force bases that have no Catholic priests.

In his departing remarks, Father Butler said, he is willing to go where he is needed, but he hates to leave at the same time.

"You've made me different. You've made me who I am," Father Butler told the members of the 131st FW. "I will always carry that with me, and I want to say thank you for what you've done for me."

Col. Robert Leeker, 131st FW commander said, "We will always be your extended family. You can always come back home and we'll be here to take care of you."