BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For his 100th birthday, Victor Butler wants neither cake nor presents. He wants something else.
Butler, a Rhode Island native who served in the Tuskegee Airmen from 1941 to 1946, will turn 100 on May 21. Working as a mechanic during the war, Butler is considered one of the last living airmen. Charles McGee, the last of the Tuskegee Airmen pilots, died earlier in January.
“I’ll tell you one thing: It’s good to be 100, but when you’re 100, you don’t want much,” Butler said from his home in Rhode Island. “There aren’t too many things that will make you happy than hearing people and speaking for people.”
Butler said when he first joined the military he wanted to be a pilot. After failing, he became an aircraft mechanic and was posted to the Tuskegee Airmen in Alabama. Nicknamed “The Red Tails”, the Tuskegee Airmen were a group of black fighter pilots who flew numerous missions during World War II between 1940 and 1948.
Butler said he always knew Airmen had something special and was proud to be a part of their history.
“I liked being in Tuskegee, even though it wasn’t nice in the city,” he said, adding that segregation was an issue in the city.
A few weeks ago, the media started reporting on Butler and his wish to have birthday cards for his birthday. By Thursday, he had already received over 500 cards and counting.
“I have two big bags of cards that I haven’t even opened yet,” he said.
Butler said he enjoyed reading the cards sent in from across the country.
“What’s so special about it?” It’s special to sit down and read them,” he said. “They all have beautiful letters with them. Some of them have been very inspiring. It makes me feel good.
Butler’s contributions were recently recognized by the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
“Mr. Butler was always a hardworking man who always strove to provide for his family and loved ones,” reads a resolution of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. “Mr. Butler was the first African American to work for Brown and Sharpe and worked for the company for 34 years. Mr. Butler was also a successful businessman who owned and operated the “Victor Butler Automatic Screw Machine Repair” company for eighteen years. »
Butler has five children, eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Birthday cards can be sent to the following address:
Victor W. Butler
C/O Gary Butler
Cranston, RI 02910
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