Local soldier killed in Afghanistan
*Originally posted August 17, 2017. Updated August 22, 2017*
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. Officials state that they are expected to recover. The group was working with members of the Afghan Army on a ground mission.
Funeral services will begin at noon on Saturday, August 26 at the LDS Stake Center in Monticello. A viewing will be held at the stake center from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Interment will follow at the Monticello City Cemetery.
The casket carrying the body of Aaron Butler will be flown from Dover, DE to the Monticello Airport on Thursday, August 24. The plane is set to arrive at noon. A procession will take the casket along Highway 191, including the Main streets in Monticello and Blanding, to the San Juan Mortuary in Blanding.
Aaron Butler always dreamed of serving in the US Military. He was a Special Forces Green Beret. Butler graduated from the Army Green Beret Special Forces Qualification Course in January, 2016.
Of the more than 100 graduates of the course, he is one of four who graduated with honors. Approximately 90 percent of soldiers who begin Special Forces training do not complete the process.
“Aaron was absolutely fearless, selfless, courageous and relentless,” said his father, Randy Butler.
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.”
Nearly 300 local residents attended an impromptu candle lighting and memorial service on August 17 at Veterans Memorial Park in Monticello. The family reports that there has been an incredible outpouring of love and support expressed through personal condolences, social media posts and acts of service.
US flags and yellow ribbons have been placed throughout the community and in Aaron’s neighborhood in Cedar Hills, UT. Nearly 20 US flags are on display in the front yard of the Butler home in Monticello.
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.”
Senator Mike Lee said, “My heart goes out to the Butler family on the loss of their son Aaron. I am very grateful for all our service men and women who put their lives on the line for our nation.”
Governor Gary R. Herbert said, “Jeanette and I were heartbroken to hear of the passing of one of Utah’s best, Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler. Our hearts ache for his family, friends and loved ones, and they will long be on our minds and in our prayers.”
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.