Bobby Butler of Charlie Company accepted the responsibility as Battalion Chaplain during the Battalion Meeting in San Diego. He will conduct group and private sessions during the 2021 Reunion.
Bobby Butler was born in Birmingham, Alabama. His family moved to Oxford, Alabama when he was in the ninth grade. He attended Samford University in Birmingham for a year and a half before entering the Marine Corps in April, 1967. He went through Parris Island and then Camp Lejeune where he became a machine gunner (0331). He got to Vietnam in October, ’67 and joined 2nd Platoon Charlie Company 1st Battalion 1st Marines at Quang Tri. They spent the month of November at Con Thien then back to Quang Tri for December and most of January. Charlie Company was assigned to be the perimeter for a Navy Seabee unit outside of Hue’ City in late January and were there for Tet. Bobby’s Dad had a heart attack near the end of February and he was sent home on Emergency Leave for 25 days during his Dad’s recovery. He returned to Charlie Company, when they were at LZ Stud, before moving up to Hill 881 South. He had carried the M-60 for his first five months in the country but was now a gun team leader. On May 23rd, ’68, while on patrol off of 881, an artillery round landed in the bomb crater his gun team was in. His team, and others, were medevaced to Khe Sanh. Bobby and his a-gunner were sent to the USS Sanctuary for surgery. His a-gunner, Larry Way, lost his leg. The telegram to Bobby’s parents read, “…multiple shrapnel wounds to the face and lower extremities… He spent seven weeks at the Army General Hospital in Japan before being sent to the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. He was there from July, ’68 to June, ’69 when he was released from the hospital and the Marine Corps as a Sergeant E-5. While in the hospital, he worked in the Marine Liaison Office and one of his responsibilities was to interview Marines as they were admitted to the hospital.
Bobby returned to Samford University planning to coach and teach. He had a part-time job at a church working in their recreation center. After graduating, he taught history and coached for two years before deciding to enter the ministry of Church Recreation. He graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and served in four different churches in North Carolina and Alabama over the next thirty-seven years before he retired in 2013. Each church was in the process of building a recreational facility and Bobby was there to complete each project and run the facility. Church Recreation involves the operation of the facility (gymnasium, fitness center, game room), basketball, softball and volleyball leagues, children’s camps, sports camps, fitness programs, crafts, retreats plus other things. As a staff minister, Bobby was involved in hospital visitation, worship, Bible Studies, weddings and Christian education. While in Charlotte, his church staff served as chaplains for the newly formed NBA Charlotte Hornets (1988). He spent four years working (as a volunteer) with the Hornets. Dell Curry, was a point guard, and attended the pre-game chapels. His son, Stephen, has done pretty well for himself in the NBA. In Mobile, Alabama, Bobby served as the Baseball Chapel Leader for the Double A Mobile BayBears. He spent eight years working with young athletes in the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondback organizations seeing many of them make it to the majors.
Bobby met his wife, Janice, at Samford. They have three married daughters and seven grandchildren. Janice and Bobby celebrate their 50th Anniversary in 2020.