Robert R Butters, Sr. was born January 29, 1925 in Wilmington, Massachusetts, where his ancestors first settled from Pitlochry, Scotland in 1665. At the age of 18 and as a senior at St. John’s Preparatory High School, Robert decided to enlist in the United States Army Air Corp like hundreds of thousands of other Patriots. On July 29, 1943, Robert headed to Scott Army Air Field, Illinois for 22 weeks of technical training as a Radio Operator. On March 18, 1945, now Sergeant Robert Butters boarded the HMS Queen Mary in New York with nearly 11,000 other courageous solders. They sailed for 5 days, 2 hours and 30 minutes to Gourock, Scotland. Robert’s final destination would take him to a local Air Drome just outside Paris, France. For the next year, Robert worked his way up the ranks starting as a Morse Code specialist, and ultimately became a Direction Finding Operator (a modern day Air Traffic Controller).
This is where Robert’s passion for flying began. He enrolled in the Sergeant Pilot training program where he would have been assigned to fly light reconnaissance and artillery-spotter aircraft missions. However, as the War ended, the Flying Sergeants program was halted and Sergeant Butters would not receive his military wings.
With an Honorable Discharge on April 1, 1946, Robert returned back to Wilmington, MA. He finished his Senior year of High School and graduated in 1947. At a local airport, his obsession for flying would finally be realized as he obtained his private pilot’s license. Robert would fly as often as he could, but the expense and his unwavering commitment to family duties would end his ability to take to the sky. Even though life would take him down a different course, his passion for flying never waned.
Robert Butters passed away April 2012, at the age of 87. He is survived by his wife Ethel, his sister, seven children and 14 grandchildren. Robert lived a full and happy life. His passion for flying was passed on to his son Bruce, who served 27 decorated and storied years in the United States Air Force and is currently a professional pilot with United Airlines, and his son Fred who pursued General Aviation Flying.
Robert would be honored to know this scholarship is being dedicated in his name, and that his passion for flying will be enjoyed through the eyes of a well deserved individual - a moment captured forever with one more knowing smile.
May 2019: Tiffany Ragains
May 2020: Alex Prince