- By Matt Cubbler
- Two Dates and a Dash Podcast
Sergeant Major Reginald Wayne Butler, U.S. Army, a native of Oklahoma, graduated from McAlester High School in 1992. He received a B.S. in business from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburg, New York in 2007; an M.B.A. in information technology management from Trident University International in Cypress, California, in 2010; and is currently pursuing a D.B.A. in leadership from Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He was raised in poverty by a single mother of five children, who had a loving heart and faced many obstacles but never complained. She blessed Butler with a warm heart, good manners, and inspired him to follow his passion and intuition. As a child, Butler had behavioral problems, a speech impediment and was fitted with leg braces. Numerous Pediatric Doctors informed his mother that he would never be able to run or overcome the fear and tension in stuttering. Kids called him names such as Frankenstein and Stutterbox until the age of 9 when he decided to overcome his challenges. Butler removed the leg braces, tossed them in a dumpster, and took off running, very much similar to Forrest Gump. By the 4th grade, Butler was the fastest kid in elementary school and later went on to win Regionals in track and field. Butler attended speech therapy throughout middle school, and he now enjoys inspiring people to overcome their obstacles and fears.
In 1991, toward the end of his junior year of high school, Butler joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard as an Infantrymen. He was the only African American in a 240-man company and had to overcome adversities related to racial discrimination but maintained a positive state of mind. Butler continued to break down obstacles within the organization and sought out the presence of younger soldiers who trusted him, believed in equal opportunity, and practiced dignity and respect. Butler found the resiliency to overcome the boundaries set before him and knew after graduating from High School the military life was going to be his destiny.
During his 25-year military career, Butler achieved the highest enlisted rank of Sergeant Major. He completed the rigorous U.S. Army Ranger School in 1998, which is the Army’s most rigorous course related to premier small unit tactics and leadership. In 2001, Butler accomplished the Bradley Master Gunner course, to become a trained expert on the weapon systems housed within military fighting vehicles. He values the attribute of leading from the front and ultimately gained the respect of his subordinates. Butler deployed to the Middle East, the Pacific, Europe and Continental U.S. stations.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Butler was a platoon sergeant of the Army’s First Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, when a platoon-size element was ambushed in Sadr City, Baghdad, on April 4, 2004, also known as “Black Sunday.” Eight soldiers were killed and more than 70 injured during the attack. Butler’s Humvee gunner paid the ultimate sacrifice, and 17 out of 37 soldiers in his platoon were severely wounded. Butler had the hardest hit platoon with 20 soldiers remaining in the fight. His unit remained in sustained combat for 80 consecutive days.
Butler is portrayed in the National Geographic Channel’s “The Long Road Home,” an eight-part miniseries based on journalist Martha Raddatz’s 2007 book of the same title. He was mentioned on several occasions including one during which the Secretary of Defense recognized Butler in a lecture to more than 5,000 cadets and faculty members at the U.S. Military Academy in 2008 as a hero with real-world experience and wisdom in and out of the classroom. He has a passion for helping military members and people around the world to find their inner abilities to overcome daily challenges and to live a healthy, memorable and appealing lifestyle.
Butler seeks to inspire, motivate and challenge audiences to lead an authentic and inspired life.