Living Memorial for Butler Rhett Allen

RhettLargeSubmitter’s Name: Butler Ramsey Sereta
The Service Member’s Name: Butler Rhett Allen
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Corporal
Military Job: Infantry
Unit: 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team
Hometown for Service Member: Glen Rose, TX

As Rhett got older, toy guns, GI Joe’s, etc. were always there for him. He would sit in trees with his “guns” to scare off intruders to keep his family safe. Eventually Rhett saw the movie “Rambo.” We had the movie at home and I am guessing he watched it about a hundred times. From then on when anyone saw Rhett he had a bandana wrapped around his head. If he could not find a bandana, he’d look for anything he could use – always wanting to look like Rambo. So it was no surprise to “lose” my belts, scarves, etc. It was not unusual to come home from work tired, just wanting to bathe and relax. I would look for my robe, put it on and I would holler “Rhett,” where is my belt? Rhett always had his “stash” and knew where everything we needed or missed was! It became a joke to all of us – if you need something, just call 1-XXX-RHETT.

In January 2015, I got a phone call from a representative of Artist Phil Taylor. The teams of Fallen Soldier Project wanted to present to me a 11 x 14 Bab1original painting by Mr. Taylor. The event was held in the Dr. Pepper Arena in Dallas. It was a ceremony beyond belief. The portrait was presented to me during halftime of the basketball game. The portrait took my breath away. On the floor with me was my husband, James; and accompanying us was Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Stewart, Cynthia and Benny Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Norcross, Gregg Garrison and Fred Camacho.

Rhett, my only son, I hope you did not feel any pain. A mother needs to know that. Every day I wake up to the same thought, “What can I do today to keep your memory alive?”

To read Sereta Butler’s letter to her son – Please Click Here


The Day That Rhett Passed

On July 20, 2007, we started out the day at our Combat Out-Post (C.O.P.) known as “The Alamo,” in Khan Bani Saad (K.B.S.), Iraq. Our unit stayed at our C.O.P. in K.B.S. most of the time and we would rotate with other platoons in our unit going back to the Forward Operating Base (F.O.B.) Warhorse; which is where we got hot showers, phone calls home, much needed relax time and decent meals.

That morning we departed the Alamo about the time the sun came up. We always, always, always patrolled in the same formation. We usually had four trucks; me and Rhett were two of the drivers. My position was Lead Driver and Rhett was the Platoon Sergeant’s Driver, which was at the rear of the convoy. We used to joke about who was the best driver and thinking that is how we got our positions assigned to us.

We left the Alamo enroute to F.O.B. Warhorse that day, but had to make a stop first at a new, bigger C.O.P. in K.B.S. that we were still setting up. As we approached our new C.O.P., which came to be known as “Key West ,” SFC Courtney, our Platoon Sergeant, ordered all trucks halt and did something we had never done before. We always kept our formation when travelling, but on this day, SFC Courtney had Rhett pull his truck to the front of the convoy.

His plan was to leave the other trucks on the road as security, while Rhett’s Stryker pulled into Key West to pick up whatever it was that we stopped there to get. The road we had stopped on was raised about five feet higher than the fields that were surrounding us and as Rhett pulled right in front of me and off the road into the field to get to Key West, Rhett drove right over an improved explosive device (I.E.D.) implanted in the dirt embankment right off the road.

I was twenty feet away from hitting that I.E.D. I was the lead driver, Rhett should have never been there. That moment still haunts me to this day. We hit quite a few I.E.D.s on that tour, but that one seemed to be pretty big. It felt like my Stryker got hit instead.

It was over just like that. I do not think Rhett felt a thing. They loaded Rhett’s body into my Stryker and drove straight back to F.O.B. Warhorse. The next day we held a memorial service for Rhett and gave him his full 21-gun salute. Then we sent Rhett home on what is known as a “Hero Flight.” McManus, Messina, a few others and myself carried Rhett to the helicopter and said our final goodbyes.

I have never gotten past that moment Rhett gave his life. Rhett was my best friend, my roommate, my battle buddy, my wingman.

ChrisandBabyWhen I got to Fort Lewis, SFC Courtney stuck me in Rhett’s room and from then on, he was like my lower enlisted mentor. We trained together, lived together, partied together and shared laughs so long my stomach would hurt. I owe my life to Rhett and will always have love and respect for his family.


My daughter Scarlett is due in 11 weeks. I would never have this opportunity if it were not for my personal hero, Rhett Allen Butler. I will make sure my daughter knows who Rhett is! Hewill never be forgotten and he will always be missed.

Sincerely, Chris Crank

Letter Remembering Corporal Rhett Butler 4/8/2016

Having served as the Volunteer Coordinator with the Glen Rose Downtown Bird Sanctuary for more than 20 years, I was so fortunate to have worked with a huge number of local folks from eight to eighty years of age with such a wide variety of talents who shared a common goal of creating (and maintaining) an award-winning sanctuary for numerous species of birds and other forest critters.

Topping the list of volunteers was Sereta Butler and her super-athletic son, Rhett. Sereta furnished a large number of different size bird houses – each one delicately painted with her artistic expertise. . . . it was Rhett that would most carefully climb the various trees to moving and placing each birdhouses in it’s very best location, as it was beyond my own physical ability to do so.

Completing his high school education here in Glen Rose, and then graduating with honors alongside his many longtime friends / classmates, he answered his nation’s call to military service.

He finished his basic training in an exemplary manner, and was then shipped out to the conflict in Iraq. While there, it was his heartfelt belief that he and all his soldiers in arms would be defending all our uniquely American rights and all the many liberties they secured.

Having been told that he was in line for a promotion to Corporal, he was on a critically important patrol through enemy territory – when a cowardly assassin’s roadside bomb stilled his warrior’s heart forever.

My respect, admiration, appreciation for Corporal Rhett Butler’s many contributions throughout his short, but so meaningful life, will never be forgotten.

Rod Hale
Glen Rose Bird Sanctuary