John E. Butts

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John E. Butts
John E Butts WW2.jpg
2nd Lieutenant John E. Butts, U.S. Army
BornAugust 4, 1922
Medina, New York
DiedJune 23, 1944 (aged 21)
Normandy, France
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1940–1944
RankSecond Lieutenant
UnitE Company, 2nd Battalion,
60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsMedal of Honor, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts

John Edward Butts (August 4, 1922 – June 23, 1944) was a United States Army second lieutenant and rifle platoon leader who received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions above and beyond the call of duty during the Normandy Campaign in World War II.

Butts was one of five brothers to serve in the war and the only one to be killed in action.[1]


Butts was born on August 4, 1920 in Medina, New York. He was one of six sons of Jerry and Anna (Hogan) Butts. He attended Medina High School where he played football.

He joined the National Guard in Medina at age 17, in 1939. He began National Guard training at Fort McClellan in Alabama in October 1940.[2][3] After training, he was assigned to F Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry. In February 1942, he was sent to Hawaii. He returned to the United States in November to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was commissioned a second lieutenant on November 29, at age 19.[4]

He requested overseas duty and participated in the North Africa Campaign. Afterwards, he was part of the invasion of Sicily where he was decorated for bravery.[2] During these campaigns and the Normandy Campaign in June 1944, he was a platoon leader of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division.

Butts was wounded on June 14 near Orglandes, France. He was wounded again on June 16 as his unit crossed the Douve River.[2] On June 23, he was fatally wounded by machine gun fire while attacking a well defended enemy held hill.[2] For his heroic actions and leadership under enemy fire on June 14, 16, and 23, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

His body was buried in the United States Military Cemetery at Normandy. In 1948, his remains were removed and re-interred in St. Mary's Cemetery in Medina.[1]

Military Awards[edit]

Lt. Butts' medals and memorabilia are on display at the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina, NY.[5]

His military decorations and awards include:

A metal device depicting a blue bar with a rifle, in front of a wreath of silver leaves.
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Combat Infantryman Badge
Medal of Honor Bronze Star Medal Purple Heart with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Good Conduct Medal American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
with four 3/16" bronze stars
World War II Victory Medal French Croix de Guerre with Palm[6][7]
(Citation only)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze oak leaf cluster[8][7]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Lt. Butts' Medal of Honor citation reads:

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Co. E, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Normandy, France, 14, 16, and June 23, 1944.
Entered service at: Buffalo, N.Y. Birth: Medina, N.Y.
G.O. No.: 58, July 19, 1944.


The President of the United States takes pride in awarding the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following

Lieutenant Butts heroically led his platoon against the enemy in Normandy, France, on 14, 16, and 23 June 1944. Despite being painfully wounded on the 14th near Orglandes and again on the 16th while spearheading an attack to establish a bridgehead across the Douve River, he refused medical aid and remained with his platoon. A week later, near Flottemanville Hague, he led an assault on a tactically important and stubbornly defended hill studded with tanks, anti-tank guns, pillboxes, and machinegun emplacements, and protected by concentrated artillery and mortar fire. As the attack was launched, Lieutenant Butts, at the head of his platoon, was critically wounded by German machinegun fire. Although weakened by his injuries, he rallied his men and directed one squad to make a flanking movement while he alone made a frontal assault to draw the hostile fire upon himself. Once more he was struck, but by grim determination and sheer courage continued to crawl ahead. When within ten yards of his objective, he was killed by direct fire. By his superb courage, unflinching valor and inspiring actions, Lieutenant Butts enabled his platoon to take a formidable strong point and contributed greatly to the success of his battalion's mission.[2]

Harry Truman


Gravestone of 2nd Lt. John E. Butts

Lt. Butts' received several military and public honors, including having two streets, an airfield, an American Legion Post, a park, an athletic field, and an ocean going ship[9] named after him:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Orleans County Obits". Medina Daily Journal. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
  2. ^ a b c d e [1]
  3. ^ WWII Army Enlistment Records
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Hudnut, Jim (5 Jan 1982). "Butts Memorabilia Will Go to L-W Library". The Journal-Register.
  6. ^ DA GO 43-50: for the period 11-18 Jun 44, to the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division as per Department of the Army Pamphlet 672-1 dated July 6, 1961, page 119
  7. ^ a b "Department of the Army Pamphlet 672-1" (PDF).
  8. ^ WD GO 1-44: for the period 23-24 Apr 43 and WD GO 90-44: for 16 Jun 44, to the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division as per Department of the Army Pamphlet 672-1 dated July 6, 1961, page 119
  9. ^ a b c "Carson's Airfield Honors Hero of Normandy". The Mountaineer. 9 July 1965.
  10. ^ "Letter Confirms Further honor to Lt. John Butts". The Medina daily Journal and Medina Register. 18 Mar 1958. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Buddies Pay tribute to Slain Medina Hero". Democrat and Chronicle. 13 June 1946. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Legion Post Name Now Honors Heroes Of Both World Wars". The Medina Daily Journal. 25 June 1954. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Fort Carson Fire and Emergency Services". Fort Carson. Archived from the original on 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2008-02-20.
  14. ^ "Butts Dedication Fulfills a Promise". The Journal-Register. 16 June 1980.