DVIDS – News – US Marine Corps Sergeant Rhett Butler carries on family tradition

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — The U.S. Marine Corps continues its fifth-generation fixed-wing aircraft transition and development with the F-35B Lightning II jets. These jets can’t fly without Marines like Staff Sergeant Rhett Butler, who perform maintenance day and night.

Butler, an F-35B Lightning II jet aircraft mechanic from Monrovia, Maryland, enlisted in the Marines in 2020 because of his family’s military history: His great-grandfather served as a Marine rifleman in World War II and fought in the Pacific Theater, while other family members served as U.S. Army officers and another as a sailor in the U.S. Navy. That lineage led him to decide to join the Marines on an aircraft maintenance contract.

“My grandfather was 0311 [rifleman] “I was told that in World War II, my father was shot or maybe hit by shrapnel in his neck and tore his vocal cords,” Butler said. “He died when I was five months old and I never got to meet him or speak to him.”

Butler carries the family tradition with him and is extremely passionate about his work.

“I take pride in every part of my job,” Butler said, “from getting up in the morning to putting on my uniform and going out there and working on the airplane. It’s a very detail-oriented job. You have to take pride in every aspect of it.”

Butler’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), 6258 Aircraft Maintenance Technician, was recognized as a Selective Retention Bonus MOS, allowing him to reenlist and maintain his MOS while also receiving a monetary bonus. Butler is a first-term Marine who has performed in high standing and met the eligibility criteria to receive a bonus in his primary MOS. Although he takes great pride in being a Marine, Butler’s career has not been without challenges.

“Sometimes people want to cut corners, but I don’t want to do that,” Butler said. “I overcame those challenges by sticking to doing the right thing while learning from good and bad leadership. I used my past experiences as motivation to follow Marine Corps orders, lead Marines the right way, and become the leader I wanted to be.”

Butler faces the important task of instilling that attention to detail in the Marines under his supervision, especially as future generations of F-35 maintainers join the Navy fleet.

“The mission of aircraft manufacturers is [Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 542] “My job is to keep the aircraft at altitude so the pilots can fly safely and accomplish the mission,” Butler said. “For me, it’s about overseeing the young Marines doing their part and working together so we can all get the mission done together.”

Throughout his Marine Corps career, Butler has closely observed leaders around him to determine his own leadership style. He noted that respect is a key trait he looks for in a leader and should be modeled by example. He also learned from the experiences of his fellow Marines who transitioned from other jet platforms, such as the AV-8B Harrier II and F/A-18 Hornet, to the F-35B Lightning II.

“It’s very important to me to treat everybody with respect and lead by example,” Butler said. “There’s a melting pot of knowledge in which we’ve all learned to work together. We now have the F-35, but like any other platform, we need to learn how to maintain it.”

As 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing continues to refine its aviation concepts, Marines like Butler will continue to lead the way on the front lines of that progress, instilling Marine Corps values ​​in their subordinates and accomplishing the mission one day at a time.

Data collected: May 31, 2024
Posted on: May 31, 2024 13:15
Story ID: 472677
position: Maryland, USA
home town: Monrovia, Maryland, USA

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