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"They were saying the average life expectancy of a second lieutenant, which I was, was like three days at that time in Vietnam.”

   John Butler
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War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
Service Location: Vietnam
Rank: Captain
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John Butler wanted to be a Marine from the time he was a boy, but his mother insisted that he go to college first. He wasted no time after he graduated in joining the Corps, and just after he did so, his brother was killed in Vietnam, so he was ready to pick up the fight. Butler came to Vietnam in the wake of the Tet offensive, a time of exceptional danger for all fighting men, including officers. The first platoon he commanded consisted of 18 men, all of whom had earned Purple Hearts. He speaks with eloquent admiration for his colleagues and their willingness to cover for one another.

Interview (Audio)
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»Voices of War
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Arriving in country. (02:57) His first platoon command. (01:38) Living conditions in Vietnam. (02:19)
Bravery of his men. (10:24)  
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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