Retired Sgt. Victor W. Butler, who was a mechanic for the famed flying all-Black squadron, becomes a centenarian on May 21.
A man believed to be one of the last surviving members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen turns 100 years old this month — and the national treasure wants a birthday card from you.
Retired Sgt. Victor W. Butler — who is 99 and 350 days old as of this writing — was a mechanic for the flying all-Black squadron that fought in World War II, WJAR reported.
The near-centenarian, who lives in Rhode Island, told WJAR he wanted to serve in the Canadian Air Force, but that didn’t work out.
“At first, I was going to join the Canadian Air Force with a friend of mine,” Butler said, “but after I had signed up, my mother and father wouldn’t approve of it. So, I joined with the American Air Force.” At the time he enlisted, the entire United States military was segregated.
The Tuskegee Airmen, frequently referred to as “Red Tails,” flew 15,533 combat sorties in more than 1,500 missions between 1941 and 1945. The fearless, peerless group of Black pilots made history while fighting the war because they broke barriers, dealing with racism as they demonstrated Black excellence, leading the way for the desegregation of the entire U.S. military.
“The airfield was very nice. It was the visit to the town that was bad,” recalled Butler. “Being in Tuskegee, Alabama, it wasn’t very acceptable to white people for Black soldiers to be walking around.”
Over the years since his service, Butler has been acknowledged, celebrated and honored. He has won awards, specialty coins and so much more marking his many accomplishments.
But he’s looking for one more expression of appreciation: Birthday cards.
“It’s just another day. That’s all,” said Butler about his upcoming birthday. But it’s not. It’s a major milestone for this Tuskegee Airman whose contributions have made a difference to Black history and, indeed, U.S. history.
Sgt. Butler is turning 100 on Saturday, May 21, and he’d love to receive birthday cards from people everywhere. “Oh, I’ll read every one of them,” he claimed.
If you would like to send Butler a birthday card, please mail it to:
Victor W. Butler
c/o Gary Butler
P.O. Box 3523
Cranston, RI 02910