Airman's life celebrated with final roll call ceremony at Nebraska Air National Guard
By Senior Airman Mary Thach, 155th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published June 26, 2013
LINCOLN, Neb. -- LINCOLN, Neb. - More than a month has passed since Senior Airman Dale Butler, of the 155th Air Refueling Wing Fuel Shop, lost his life in a private plane accident. Members of the Nebraska Air National Guard's 155th ARW celebrated Butler's life and service with his family, front and center, during a memorial ceremony at the Nebraska National Guard air base in Lincoln, Neb., June 8.
Butler, 26, and his friend Amy Rose Brobst, 23, died April 27, when the Piper PA-28 Butler was piloting crashed in a soybean field shortly after takeoff from Norfolk, Neb. Both Butler and Brobst were from Omaha.
A popular saying in the National Guard is, "Guard is Family." Jeanette Butler, Dale's mother, agrees. She said the 155th ARW helped ease the burden of the loss of her son and friend. Jeanette said she was impressed with how quickly the Guard reached out to her family and assisted them wherever possible. She felt as if the unit had embraced her family and made them part of the Guard family.
Jeanette described her son as a servant-leader with a passion for flying and a passion for people.
"If he saw someone who needed help, he stopped and helped," said Jeanette. "He was a servant. He just loved to help people out. He saw a need and he did it."
The "home-going ceremony," as Jeanette called it, was held to celebrate the life and service of Butler and give members of the 155th ARW some closure.
During the ceremony, Master Sgt. Brandon Viet, Butler's first sergeant, gave the final roll call for the fuel shop, reading Butler's name repeatedly, but no answer came.
Dale's mother said she was grateful for the ceremony to honor her son. She said he was thrilled to be a part of the Nebraska Air National Guard.
"He was so proud to be in the Air Guard," Jeanette said. "He thought about it for a long time before joining. As long as he was not going to be in harm's way, I was supportive. We are so incredibly proud of him and what he has done."
Butler joined the 155th ARW in March 2010, was a basic military training student leader and an honor graduate, finishing in the top 10 percent of his class. His fellow fuels troops at the 155th ARW said he was a vital asset of the fuels shop.
Jeanette Butler extended her appreciation to Capt. Lloyd Blessington, who served as a family assistance officer to the Butler family, for his support and constant contact with the family during this difficult time.
"Captain Blessington has lived up to his name. He is a blessing," said Jeanette. "I tip my hat to him. He has accepted our hugs. He and everyone have been so wonderful."
"They have enfolded us. They have bent over backwards to support us."