Aaron Butler, a Special Forces soldier from Monticello, was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 16, 2017.
Butler, age 27, was killed when he entered a booby-trapped building that exploded while his group was fighting members of the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.
The twelve-member team is part of the Utah National Guard. The other eleven soldiers were injured in the explosion.
The group was working with members of the Afghan Army on a ground mission. Additional information has not been released about the injured soldiers.
Aaron Butler always dreamed of serving in the US Military. He was a Special Forces Green Beret. Butler is one of four soldiers who graduated with honors from the Army Green Beret Special Forces Qualification Course in January, 2016.
“Aaron was absolutely fearless, selfless, courageous and relentless,” said his father, Randy Butler.
Butler is one of a handful of Utahns who were four-time high school state wrestling champions. He claimed state titles in 2005 through 2008. He graduated from Monticello High School in 2008.
Butler grew to love the wonderful people in Ghana while serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2009 to 2011.
The Butler family has released the following statement:
“The Army values are: ‘Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage’. Aaron Butler personified those values in everything he said and did.
“In a life that was all too brief, our dear son and brother made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. While we are heartbroken to become a Gold Star family, we honor Aaron’s service and sacrifice.
“Aaron was a strength to us, an inspiration to those around him, and a joy to have in our family.”
Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, said, “My heart aches for the loss and sacrifice of our members and their families.
“I know that what we do is dangerous and important work for our country’s defense, but this realization does little to console me during times of loss such as this.”
Aaron Butler was born on August 24, 1989 in Monticello.
He is survived by his parents, Laura and Randy Butler of Monticello, seven siblings, 23 nieces and nephews, and grandparents Marva and Pat Butler of Monticello, and Stan and Diane Augustine of Kettle Falls, WA.
Butler’s body is being flown to Dover, DE and eventually will be released to the family. Funeral services are pending.
Aaron Butler is the fifth San Juan County resident to be killed in the War on Terror.
Navy Seal Jason Workman, of Blanding, was killed in action in Maidan Wardak province, Afghanistan on August 5, 2011. Workman was a member of the elite Seal Team Six.
Sgt. 1st Class James Thode, a Farmington, NM resident who was assigned to the National Guard unit in San Juan County, died in 2010 from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan’s Khowst province.
Sgt. 1st Class Nathan L Winder, of Blanding, died in 2007 near Diwaniyah, Iraq. Winder was a Special Forces medic.
Lance Cpl. Quinn A. Keith, of Blanding, was killed on September 6, 2004 near Fallujah, Iraq.
In honor of the family's wish for privacy, please coordinate all media efforts through Bill Boyle at 435-459-1929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.