Support a Medal of Honor for Sgt. William A. Butler, WWI Hero
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Please sign this petition in support of recognizing Sgt. William A. Butler with a posthumous Medal of Honor for his heroic service to our country during World War I.
Acts of Heroism
In August 1918, Sgt. Butler, serving in Company L of the 369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Provisional Division (which fought with the French 16th and 161st Divisions), distracted a group of German soldiers who seized 1st Lieutenant Gorman Jones and four other American soldiers near Maison-de-Champagne, France. Sgt. Butler and the captured 1st Lt. Jones exchanged directions and Sgt. Butler confused the enemy raiders, which allowed the captured Americans to escape. He then charged ahead while shooting his automatic rifle in an unconventional manner (from the shoulder, rather than from a tripod, as it was designed to be fired). Sgt. Butler killed four enemy soldiers, wounded an officer (who later died) and continued to pursue those he caused to flee. His actions prevented the capture of men and intelligence, and were so swift and powerful, the enemy raiders recorded that their raid was repelled by great numerical force and firepower.
Recognition of Valor
For his heroic actions, Sgt. Butler, a Maryland native, was honored with France’s Croix de Guerre with Palm by Order of the Army (the highest level of this award) and the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Service Cross. Sgt. Butler was also nominated for the Medal of Honor in November 1918. Medal of Honor nominations were extremely rare for African American soldiers at the time, which serves as a testament to his valor. Unfortunately, history shows that the Croix de Guerre and Distinguished Service Cross were the highest honors afforded to African American soldiers during their times of service in World War I. Although Sgt. Butler’s personnel files were destroyed in a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis in 1973 and his original Medal of Honor nomination paperwork was lost, there is evidence indicating that Sgt. Butler’s Medal of Honor nomination was considered, then downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.
Congress has begun redressing the historical slights of heroic African Americans who served in WWI by posthumously awarding Medals of Honor to two soldiers. Cpl. Freddie Stowers, squad leader of Company C, 371st Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1991, and Sgt. Henry Johnson, member of Company C, 369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2015. Still, there are so many more soldiers whose bravery and selfless actions contributed to the spread of liberty and freedom around the world, and they deserve to be honored appropriately. Sgt. Butler is one such soldier.
If you agree, please sign this petition in support of a posthumous Medal of Honor for Sgt. William A. Butler.
Greg R. Gunderson, Ph.D.
President, Park University
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