26 June 1969 – Capt John Casper was serving with the 413th TFS out of Phan Rang AB, Vietnam. On a mission to detect VietCong...Read More
Greg J Butler
Up, Up, Up and Away by Greg Butler
Up, Up, Up, and Away
That’s what Superman used to say
As he prepared to soar on high
And pass from view across the sky
Well I tried that in my youth
The result was a fall, and a broken tooth
So then I joined the Air Force Cadet Corps
And became a fighter pilot . . . but of course
As a teen I fell in love with the Super Saber’s artistic intake
Copied and admired it in a clay model of a sleek sports car I did make
Then I set the car on the shelf thinking “I guess that’s it for me”
Never dreaming that for twelve years my chinning bar the intake would be
My first gig was in the 461st Deadly Jesters at Hahn, in the ADIZ chasing Migs
Then off to the 53rd Tigers at Ramstein for boring Victor, but much much nicer digs
T’was there on Old 950 I first put my name
No one else would take her due to her very negative fame
For twenty one years I zoomed and thundered
In F-84F, A-7D, and mostly F-one-hundred
From Cannon sat Victor Alert with the big bomb
Skipped, dived and strafed in Vietnam
T’was there I jumped from my flaming steed
They called it ground fire but I know it was a hot air bleed
You know, North American built 2300 of the Hun
Well my Guard wingman that night was in just one . . . My Old 950 (Very small world)
After some ten of those Air Force years I finally got lonely
Then found and married Sweet Lorraine, who sure is a honey
Details of our courtship makes for big laughs at a party
Raised three great kids named Bill, Kristi and Scotty
Spent several years at Luke and D M teaching new guys
How to ply fighter tactics up in the Arizona skies
And in the process, got wrapped up in a thing called I S D
If you really want to know more about that you’ll just have to ask me
But when to a Langley desk they did assign me
I thought to myself, how can this be?
The world’s Greatest Fighter Pilot not up in the sky
So at 21 years I turned in my chute and to the Air Force said good-bye
For the next twenty-some years I did training design
For the Air Force and Navy in a favorite place of mine
That would be San Diego where the sun will usually shine
Worked for Logicon and Northrop, the employers of mine
But before very long I said to myself . . . self
Do you really want to just sit here on the shelf?
Or would you rather soar high again?
To which I replied YES, but how and when?
Then I heard of a guy named VanGrunsven
Who made airplane kits that many were using
So my garage soon became an airplane factory
With much drilling and riveting and other racketry
In a mere eight years my first takeoff was rolling
Up, up, up, and away o’r the clouds I was going
You could hear me exclaim as I roared out of sight
Loops, rolls and spins in the New 950 are sure a delight
So now when terra firma gets boring
To the sky I return, and in 950 go soaring
And when comes the day a medical certificate I can’t rate
I can look back and say . . . . Thank You God . . . . It’s sure been great
- 461 TFS
- TAC DOXS
Awards & Decorations
Military & Civilian Education
Survival Under Fire
Greg Butler tells “a tale of survival under fire and the loyalty of a venerable craft to its former master. Long ago and far away at a base in Germany Greg [Butler] placed his name on an F-100 that had had a treacherous reputation. Greg tamed the craft and flew it successfully and moved on.
Years later in Viet Nam Greg found himself in another F-100 that had been disabled either by a mechanical malfunction or by enemy ground fire. Another F-100 moved in and circled Greg’s crippled plane to assess the damage and provide protective cover. As Greg pulled the ejection trigger, he noticed the number 950 on the tail of the circling plane. It was his old steed from Germany. The protective cover was successful and Greg was recovered from the battlefield to fight another day. – From the EAA Chapter 286 N. San Diego County, August 2012
Here’s the story… “F-100 Pilot, Greg Butler did not hesitate. “I immediately blew the canopy and was ejected,” he said. “I started tumbling until the parachute opened and then had a normal descent.”
Several Army helicopter gunships, operating north of the base, quickly diverted to fly cover for the downed pilot. While Major Butler was ejecting, the two Huskie helicopters at Phan Rang were being scrambled for the rescue.
One helicopter was airborne in seconds with Maj. William C. Emrie, Florissant, MO. and Maj. Donald R. Brooks, Colorado Springs, CO, in the cockpit. Sgt. Richard L. McNeese, Slidell, La., was the flight engineer. “As we arrived at the scene, the pilot on the ground fired a flare,” said Major Emrie. “We just went into his exact location and made the pick-up.”
“When we got over the man on the ground,” Major Emrie continued, “Sergeant McNeese threaded the forest penetrator hoist through the jungle canopy and made the pick-up.” On the ground, Major Butler became concerned when at first, he couldn’t locate the three-pronged anchorlike penetrator in the dense jungle.
Then, it landed right at his feet.
SSgt. Angel Luna, Midwest City, Okla., was the medical technician onboard the helicopter. Sergeant Luna said, “I gave him a quick check when we got him into the helicopter, and, except for a slight cut on his nose and forehead, he seemed to be in fine shape.”
During their return to Phan Rang, red streaks from enemy tracer rounds went flying past the plexiglass of the canopy. An AC47 Dragonship, assigned to Flight B, 3rd Air Commando Squadron, used its rapid-firing mini-guns to suppress the ground fire.
When the rescue helicopter landed at Phan Rang it was met by medical personnel who immediately checked Major Butler and pronounced him in good shape.”(Source: Article from Phan Rang AB Happy Valley News..1968)