Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Roger Alan Butters (A.B., J.D.,LL.M.) passed away from a stroke on September 22, 2011. Roger was born in Corry, March 8, 1950; the youngest child of Dr. J. Guy and Mrs. Katherine Colegrove Butters. He was raised in Corry, graduating from Corry Area High School in 1968.
He participated in Army ROTC while attending Bowdoin College and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant upon his graduation in 1972 and then served two years as a platoon leader in air defense missile units in Korea and Fort Bliss, Texas. After his discharge, he attended the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle. Following his graduation and admission to the Pennsylvania Bar, in January 1978 Roger re-entered the active Army as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. To Roger’s surprise, what he originally intended to be a limited three year commitment to burnish his resume’ with trial experience ultimately turned into a 24 year long career in the Regular Army.
Early in his JAG career, Roger served two tours in Germany in a succession of military justice assignments, personally trying over 300 courts-martial — including the defense of a capital murder case. He later served as the Chief, Criminal Law for U. S. Forces Korea. Midway through his career the Army funded his attendance at the National Law Center, George Washington University where he earned a Master of Laws degree in environmental law. Roger subsequently served utilization tours as the environmental law specialist for the U.S. Army Toxic and Hazardous Materials Agency, for the Department of Defense’s Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, and for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. In the latter two assignments, he provided extensive environmental compliance advice related to various missile defense intercept tests conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, and at the Kwajalein, Wake Island, Kauai, Point Mugu, and China Lake test facilities around the Pacific. He was the principal legal strategist in the development of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that ultimately led to the highly controversial but successful deployment of the National Missile Defense system in Alaska.
Roger’s other career highlights included service as an Associate Professor of Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point; service as the last Staff Judge Advocate for the now closed Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana; and, service as the Army’s first dedicated operations law/law of armed conflict advisor for issues related to missile defense and anti-satellite operations.
Roger retired from the Army 30 September 2001. During the initial flurry of post-9/11 terrorist attack deployments his replacement as operations law advisor was reassigned to Southwest Asia. The newly retired Mr. Butters volunteered to return to Headquarters, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command where he served as a civilian attorney until the arrival of a new, military operations law advisor in August 2002.
Lieutenant Colonel Butters’ military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal (with 4 Oak Leaf clusters), and the Army Commendation Medal.
Roger returned to Corry in the fall of 2002. After his mother suffered a stroke in 2004, he acted as her primary caregiver; enabling her to stay in her home until her death in 2011 at the age of 95. Roger was an active member and elder in the First Presbyterian Church. For many years he served as a volunteer member of the city’s Earned Income Tax and Planning committees. Beginning in 2004 he was a director of the Pine Grove Cemetery Association; and from January 2006 served as its president.
In addition to his parents, Roger was preceded in death by a sister K. Louise Butters, two brothers J. Guy Butters, III, and Arthur C. Butters. Roger was a devoted son, caring brother, and much-loved uncle to his five nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed.
Friends may call at the Bracken Funeral Home, 315 N. Center St., Corry, Pa., on Saturday from noon until the time of the funeral service there at 2 pm. Rev. Larry Myers of the First Presbyterian Church, Corry, will officiate.
Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery, Corry, Pa.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Pine Grove Cemetery Association, PO Box 208, Corry, Pa. 16407.