Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rhett Butler remembered by mother

Sereta Ramsey of San Angelo said that as a child, her son would tie a band around his head and pretend he was Rambo.

“Joining the military was something he always wanted to do,” Ramsey said.

Her son, Cpl. Rhett Allen Butler, was killed July 20 in Iraq. He was 22.

Butler was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) at the Army’s Fort Lewis, Wash.

The Department of Defense reported that Butler died of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Khan Bani Sa’d.

Butler, who was named for the “Gone With the Wind” character of the same name, attended school in Glen Rose, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Ramsey, 57, said she and her husband, James Ramsey, Butler’s stepfather, moved to San Angelo about two years ago. They had lived in Bremond — about 42 miles north of College Station — and came here to be near Sereta Ramsey’s daughter and get a new start.

Shayre Strickland, one of Butler’s two sisters, moved to Christoval with her husband and two children about two years ago. She is a registered nurse with Concho Valley Home Health, and moved to the area because her husband’s family has roots in Christoval, and they thought it would be a good place to raise a family.

Strickland, 36, said her brother had a desire to do something for his country.

“I have comfort knowing that he died for us,” Strickland said, “and he died doing something he wanted to do.”

Butler joined the military in 2004, a year after he graduated from high school, Sereta Ramsey said. The first time he had tried to join, he didn’t pass a pulmonary test, and physicians thought he had asthma.

The next time Butler tried to join, his previous pulmonary problems were determined to be allergies. But that time, he was told he needed to lose 12 pounds in two weeks.

Strickland said that to lose the weight, Butler ran twice a day, ate mostly salads and chicken, and wrapped himself in plastic wrap and sat out in the sun.

“He was so determined to get in,” Ramsey said. “He was so strong-willed.”

Butler had been the driver of one of the Stryker vehicles in the military because he had wanted to make sure his buddies were taken care of, Strickland said. He loved being around people.

Butler also loved science fiction books and movies, Strickland said. Before his deployment, she and her sister, Shawna Conway of Glen Rose, went to Seattle to visit Butler.

While there, they went inside the Space Needle, and he spotted a science fiction museum.

“He spent two hours in that museum, just looking at everything,” Strickland said.

Ramsey said her son signed up to join the cavalry because he wanted to be on the front lines. She said she remembers when he called home to say he was being deployed and said, “Mom, I don’t know why you’re upset. You knew I was going to go.”

Ramsey is not handling his death well, but that is to be expected, she said.

“He was only 22 years old,” Ramsey said. “It shouldn’t have happened. I’m mad about it, and then I cry.”

From the Standard-Times

Related Link:
Rhett A. Butler dies 'of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device'