James A. Butz, War in Afghanistan CasualtyPorter County Data on War in Afghanistan Casualties . . . .

James A. Butz
Medic Specialist, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army
Date of Birth: July 26, 1990, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
Date of Death: September 28, 2011, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Burial: Chesterton Cemetery
Cause of Death: Killed in Action, improvised explosive device
Hometown: Porter

Newspaper Notices:

of Indiana
 in the House of Representatives
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Speaker: It is with great respect and deep sadness that I wish to commend United States Army Specialist James A. Butz for his bravery and willingness to fight for his country. Specialist Butz was a member of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While serving in Afghanistan as a combat medic, on Sept. 28, 2011, Specialist Butz was killed while rushing to assist two wounded Marines when an improvised explosive device detonated, taking his life and the lives of the two Marines. His sacrifice will forever be remembered by those he fought to protect.

A native of Porter, Ind., James graduated from Chesterton High School in 2009. While in high school, James was a wrestler and football player. Many describe James as very outgoing, happy, smart, and full of energy. After graduating high school in June 2009, James enlisted in the Army. According to his family, James decided in high school that he wanted to join the military. Family and friends remember James as a hard worker who enjoyed military life and thrived in that environment. His plans were to continue his military career and become a registered nurse. For his selfless commitment to the Army and outstanding dedication to his country, James is worthy of the highest praise. For his courage and sacrifice, James has been honored by the military with the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO medal, the Combat Medic Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. Although only a young man, James gained immense respect from those around him, and he was admired in his community. He will be greatly missed and forever cherished by those who loved him.

Specialist Butz leaves behind a loving family. He is survived by his adoring parents, John and Mary Jane Butz. James also leaves to cherish his memory his brothers, John and William. He also leaves behind many other dear friends and family members, as well as a saddened community and a grateful nation.

Mr. Speaker, at this time, I ask that you and my other distinguished colleagues join me in honoring a fallen hero, United States Army Specialist James A. Butz. Specialist Butz sacrificed his life in service to his country, and his passing comes as a great loss to our nation, which has once again been shaken by the realities of war. Specialist Butz will forever remain a hero in the eyes of his family, his community, and his country. Thus, let us never forget the sacrifice he made to preserve the ideals of freedom and democracy.
Source: Congressional Record, Washington, D.C.; October 11, 2011; Volume 157, Number 151, Pages E1811-E1812.

Services Tuesday for Spec. James Butz

Spc. James A. Butz, age 21 of Porter, passed away on September 28, 2011 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

He was born on July 26, 1990 in Valparaiso, Ind. to his parents, John A. and Mary Jane (Frommer) Butz, both of whom survive in Porter.

Also surviving are his brothers John L. Butz of Chesterton and William J. Butz of Porter; paternal grandfather, John “Pops” Butz of Chesterton; maternal grandparents, James and Elizabeth Frommer, Sr. of Pennsylvania; aunts and uncles, James (Susan) Butz of Pennsylvania, Jean Butz of Chesterton, Joyce (Paul) Wascher of Michigan and Lois (James) Steward of Pennsylvania and Dr. James (Bonnie) Frommer of Pennsylvania, and numerous cousins, friends and comrades.

Jim was preceded in death by his paternal grandmother.

Jim was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. He served as an Army Combat Medic with the Charlie Company 1st of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed out of Fort Bragg in Fayettville, North Carolina.

He was a 2009 graduate of Chesterton High School, where he played football and wrestled. He was also a member of the Porter Fire Department and a certified national firefighter.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church with Pastor Jane Aicher officiating. Burial will follow at the Chesterton Cemetery.

The family will receive friends on Monday, October 10, 2011 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 2050 West 1100 North, Chesterton, Ind., from 1-8 p.m.

Arrangements are under the care of White-Love Funeral Home, 525 South 2nd Street, Chesterton, Ind.

Memorials may be given in Jim’s memory to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Chesterton.

For additional information, please call White-Love Funeral Home at 219-926-1309.
Source: Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; October 7, 2011

Community Condolence Card Available for Chesterton Soldier
By Joyce Russell

PORTER | Flags throughout town were lowered to half-staff in memory of Spc. Jim Butz.

Butz, 21, was killed Wednesday in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The combat medic was rushing to the aid of two wounded soldiers when an improvised explosive device exploded, killing all three.

Memorial and funeral services have not been arranged for the former Chesterton High School football player and wrestler who enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school and was deployed to Afghanistan in June. Butz, of Porter, served with the 82nd Airborne Division headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.

"We are kind of in limbo right now," Porter Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy said about what the town might do to honor Butz.

A memorial service is also planned at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, but details are pending.

In the meantime, Chesterton Middle School is inviting students, staff and community members to sign a condolence card at the school.

Cathy Seely, the school's guidance department secretary, said the Give Back Project at the school is sponsoring the card.

"He had been a student of ours as well as his two brothers," Seely said.

The card will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the guidance department of the school, 651 W. Morgan. Seely said the card will be given to the family at some point.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, offered his condolences to the family Monday.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of James Butz in Afghanistan. A true hero, Jim lost his life while helping the wounded, and he, his family, friends and fellow soldiers remain in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. The immense courage and patriotism that Jim exhibited serving his country are inspiring. We truly owe Jim, and all of our troops, our eternal gratitude for their endless sacrifices to protect our freedom," Visclosky wrote in a statement.

White Love Funeral Home in Chesterton is in charge of arrangements.
Source: The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; October 3, 2011

'He Didn't Hesitate:' Airborne Medic Jim Butz Dies a Hero in Afghanistan

Jim Butz didn’t hesitate.

When two Marines on a patrol in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan were hit last week—probably by an improvised explosive device (IED)—Butz, a medic with the 82nd Airborne Division, rushed to their aid. And was himself struck by an IED.

Butz, a 2009 graduate of Chesterton High School, a football player, a wrestler, the beloved son of John Jr. and MaryJane Butz, brother of Will and John, died of his wounds on Thursday, Sept. 28.

He was 21.

Jim’s father, John Jr., told the Chesterton Tribune today that the U.S. Army is still investigating the circumstances of his son’s death but, as he’s been told, Jim’s platoon of 24—an element of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division—was working in support of a Special Forces detachment negotiating with local villages.

At some point the patrol had dismounted and two members of Marine Recon, tasked to Jim’s unit, walked ahead for a reconnaissance, alert to the possibility of IEDs as they’d been reported in the area. “They walked up, they walked back, they didn’t find anything,” John said. “Then they walked back up again and there was an explosion and the two Marines went down. Jimmy didn’t hesitate. He ran out to give aid and a second blast went off. He was killed in the second explosion. All three died at the same time.”

“It was a medic’s worst nightmare,” John said. “That’s what medics do. They help people under fire.”

Jim Remembered

This morning John remembered his son. “He was pretty outgoing. He had the gift of gab. He always had a lot of friends around him. Jimmy was a leader. He was the instigator. He was a happy, fun kid. He was full of energy.”

Jim had his passions. “The last couple of years it was the military,” John said. “Before that it was football and wrestling. Before that it was soccer.”

In fact Jim missed his senior year with the Trojans—he was a defensive lineman—after being injured. “He couldn’t play football. He couldn’t wrestle. That really hit him. He was on crutches his last year.”

What Jim did do, though, was take a medical class. “He’d heard there was a bunch of girls in the class and he signed up for it. They learned physical therapy, rode with ambulances.”

Then, on graduating CHS, Jim enlisted, John said. “He made up his mind early to go into the military. I don’t really know why. No one else in the family had gone into the military.”

John thinks now that it may have been his son’s strong streak of independence, his desire “to do it on his own,” to make his own way in the world.

Jim’s decision, on the other hand, to jump out of airplanes—to wear the maroon beret of Airborne—may have had something to do with John’s own skydiving experiences. “I parachuted when I was young. I think he was trying to impress me. That’s the reason he joined Airborne.”

A Soldier

John admits to having been disappointed when Jim opted for the military instead of college—“I had a college fund set up for him. He had the brains, he had the ability, he was very smart”—but he saw his son blossom as a soldier. “Jim really liked what he was doing. He thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s kind of a Spartan lifestyle but he had his act together. He had a plan for himself. He had objectives and he was working to achieve them.”

“He’d bought himself a Ranger and just paid it off,” John said. “He was so thrilled and proud. He was putting aside money for himself for the future.”

And when John last spoke with his son, Jim was “talking about re-enlisting. He was looking at his options. He wanted to get through LPN training. That was his overall goal, to become a registered nurse. That was his plan.”


Spc. James A. Butz didn’t hesitate.

He died doing his job, giving succor, acting selflessly.

He died a hero.

“Jim always wanted to be the star of the football team,” John recalled fondly. “He wasn’t but he wanted to be. But they’re all heroes. All the guys who go over there.”

John and MaryJane will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this week. “We have a good family and we’re looking forward to another 25 years. But it’s hard to get used to. We’re so proud of Jim.”

The last thing John told the Tribune this morning is this: “Please let everyone know how thankful we are to the community. People have really been nice, in the community, at work. I work at Mittal, MaryJane works at Lighthouse Place. The kindness and support mean so much to us.”
Source: The Chesterton Tribune, Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana; October 3, 2011

Soldier's Dad: 'He'll Always be My Hero'

PORTER | Jim Butz died in what Army officials told his father was "a medic's worst nightmare."

"Two soldiers were down," John Butz said Saturday. "Jimmy ran without hesitation. Somehow an IED was tripped."

The explosion killed the 21-year-old and two others, Butz said.

Jim Butz, of Porter, was deployed to Afghanistan in June. His family was in the midst of planning a celebration for his return home in March.

"It wasn't meant to be," his father said.

The former Chesterton High School athlete died Thursday in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

His family returned Saturday night after picking up his body from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

His father seeks solace in knowing his middle son died doing what made him happy.

In their last conversation two weeks ago, Jim Butz told his father, "Dad, I really, really love what I'm doing."

"He was a great kid," his father said when asked what first comes to mind when thinking of his son. "He had a wonderful personality. He was strong. He was bright. He had a gift of gab. He was a born leader."

Proud of all three of his sons and eager for them to each have a college eduction, John Butz said at first he wasn't entirely in favor of Jim going into the service.

But after a time, John Butz changed his mind "100 percent."

When deployed in June with 720 other soldiers, Jim Butz told his father the group was broken up into 24-man units with the mission to assist special forces.

"That was his goal. He was very happy to be a medic," he said.

When Jim Butz's body arrived at Dover early Saturday morning, his family joined six other bereaved families.

John Butz said the families were greeted by a U.S. Army general and treated with great kindness.

"If you see a leader like that, it makes you feel a little better about the Pentagon," he said.

Butz said his family also has shown great support, as has his church.

"I think we knew the possibility existed. We knew for the past two years he could be deployed," he said.

"It's a tragedy," Butz said.

"But he died doing what he liked," he added. "He'll always be my hero."

Source: The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; October 2, 2011

CHESTERTON, Ind. (AP) — A soldier from northwest Indiana has been killed while serving in the Army in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense said Saturday that 21-year-old Spc. James A. Butz of Porter died Wednesday in Helmand province. Chesterton football coach John Snyder, who coached Butz in high school, tells The Times of Munster that relatives told him that the Army medic was treating an injured soldier when their truck was hit by a roadside bomb.

Butz was a 2009 Chesterton High School graduate. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Snyder says Butz was a hard worker who would have thrived in the military.
Source: The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; October 1, 2011

Northwest Indiana Medic Killed in Afghanistan
By John Byrne, Tribune Reporter

Northwest Indiana native James Butz joined the armed forces because he wanted to help others, and his aunt said the Army medic was doing just that when he was killed recently in Afghanistan.

Butz, 21, was rushing to the aid of injured colleagues when he was killed in Helmand province, according to his aunt Joyce Wascher.

"They told us two Marines had been hurt, and he ran forward -- without his helmet or his gun -- to help them," Wascher said today. Butz was fatally injured when a roadside bomb exploded, she said.

"I think he was just trying to respond, that's the way he was," she said.

The Department of Defense said Butz, of Porter, died Wednesday. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division out of Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Butz played football and wrestled at Chesterton High School, graduating in 2009, his aunt said. He also took some nursing classes, and gravitated toward medical training when he enlisted.

"He felt like that's where he could do the most good. He was a great person, very special," she said.

Talks with family members from Afghanistan always focused on how things were fine, Wascher said. "He didn't want to worry people," she said. "We're all very proud of him."
Source: The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Cool County, Illinois; October 1, 2011

Chesterton High Grad Killed in Afghanistan

CHESTERTON | A 2009 graduate of Chesterton High School was killed this week while serving in Afghanistan.

Before Friday's football game between Chesterton High School and Lake Central High School, athletic director Garry Nallenweg asked the crowd for a moment of silence in honor of Jim Butz.

Butz, 21, was killed Sept. 28 in the Helmand province in Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device, according to the DOD news release.

Butz was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Chesterton High football coach John Snyder, who coached Butz, said he wasn't surprised Butz was headed for the military.

"Jim was just one of those kids that worked his butt off in the weight room," he said. He followed directions, was dedicated and had the personality of someone who would thrive in the military.

Snyder said Butz's younger brother, Will Butz, told him that Jim, a medic, was killed while treating someone who was injured. Their truck hit an improvised explosive device.

Snyder said he texted Butz's younger brother, Will Butz, and told him he should be extremely proud of his big brother.

"It takes a special person to put your life on the line for people you don't know and fight for our freedom," Snyder said.

Chris Joll, who coached Jim Butz on the Chesterton High wrestling team, said Butz had the same hardworking mentality as anyone who joins the military.

"If there's one thing Jim could do, it was work well," Joll said.

Joll, who also coached Jim and Will's older brother, John Butz, said the Butz family is solid and supportive of one another.

"They have a really good family," he said.

Source: The Times, Munster, Lake County, Indiana; September 30, 2011

Soldier from Porter Killed in Afghanistan

CHESTERTON — James Butz, a 2009 graduate of Chesterton High School and a member of the Army, was killed while serving in Afghanistan, school officials said Friday night.

The Department of Defense announced his death Saturday. Butz, a specialist in the 82nd Airborne Division, died Sept. 28 from injuries suffered as a result of the explosion of an improvised explosive device, the department said in a statement. Butz was serving in Helmand province.

Chesterton High School football coach John Snyder said Friday that he received a call from Butz’s brother, Will Butz, on Thursday night telling him that Jim Butz had been killed.

An announcement of his death was made before Friday night’s football game.

“I cried on the phone with him,” Snyder said.

“It just puts it in perspective. This is just a game. Our prayers and our hearts go out to the Butz family. I told Will he should be proud of having a brother serve,” Snyder said.

Butz graduated from the high school in June 2009 and entered the Army on July 1, 2009, according to The Bethlehem Beacon, a newsletter put out by Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Chesterton.

Butz, along with his brothers John and Will Butz, were members of the wrestling team.

According to the Department of Defense, there were 1,678 military deaths in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom as of Friday morning.

Source: Post-Tribune, Gary, Lake County, Indiana; September 30, 2011

Return to List of Porter County War in Afghanistan Casualties

Information abstracted and transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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