Colonel, USAF, Ret.

Larry was born and raised in San Diego were he met Wilma McMillan in high school.  In 1951 they were married and joined the Air Force.

After serving seven years as an enlisted flight mechanic, Larry was selected for OCS, graduating in 1958. He then attended jet pilot training, receiving his wings in 1959.

For the next 22 years he commanded a variety of organizations at progressively higher levels of responsibility.

He flew several aircraft, including jet fighters, multi engine aircraft, and helicopters, accumulating over 5000 flying hours.

He served in the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts.

Flying with the Jolly Green helicopters, he flew over 200 long-range combat rescue missions in North Vietnam and Laos, recovering or assisting in the recovery of over 100 aircrew members.

In 1971, he was Mission Commander/Pilot of the First Trans-Pacific flight of two helicopters flying from Eglin AFB, Fla. to Da Nang AB, Vietnam. The mission took 70 hours flying time and 14 air refuelings.


James Lawrence Butera, Colonel, USAF (Retired)

July 27, 1932 – October 02, 2018

COL James Lawrence Butera
BIRTH: 27 Jul 1932
San Diego County, California, USA
DEATH: 2 Oct 2018 (aged 86)
Sacramento Valley National Cemetery
Dixon, Solano County, California, USA
PLOT  Col-2, Court I, Site 162-B
MEMORIAL ID 200347648 · View Source

Colonel Butera was the son of Josephine M. Caporale and Samuel S. “Sam” Butera; brother of Patrick and Richard Butera. In 1940, the family was living in National City, San Diego County, CA.

He married Vancouver, Canada, native Wilma Rose McMillan on June 24, 1951, in Wichita County, Texas. They had at least one daughter, Ellen Maria Butera, born March 26, 1957, in Munich Germany. As a part of Ellen’s naturalization process, her name was legally changed to Laurie Ann Butera.

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