Robert T. “Bob” Butler was born in Lima Jan. 19, 1928, to Edmund and Margaret Butler and grew up here with his four siblings. Early childhood was what you might expect during the Depression but to him it was just “childhood.” Shortly after the Depression, World War II broke out. That didn’t affect him much, especially since America wasn’t involved yet. He continued his boyhood in Lima, attending St. Rose Catholic School up through high school. As he grew he became more aware of the hard times and worked various jobs to help out.
America entered the war in 1941, when Bob was 13. Still too young to enlist, he continued in school and eventually began working at the Lima Locomotive Works as an assembler. At 17, his age caught up with his desire to serve his country and he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserves in April 1945. He was sent to the Naval Training Center in Sampson, New York, where he did several weeks of boot camp before getting his first assignment. At boot camp, he learned the basics of being a sailor and was given the rate of Fireman. After boot, his orders read ATB, Camp Bradford NOB in Norfolk, Virginia. There he was assigned to the USS LCCI (L) 44, a LCI-1 Class Landing Craft Infantry (Large), commissioned in December 1942. It had seen distinguished serve in the Asia-Africa-Middle Eastern Theater early in the war but was no longer being utilized in that capacity. Aboard this LCI is where Bob learned the skills he would need to manage and maintain the engines aboard ship once he was deployed.
His next assignment was to serve aboard the USS Anzio (CVE 57), a Casablanca-class escort carrier. The war had just ended and the Anzio was refitted to transport troops. When ready, the Anzio sailed to China to support the task of bringing our soldiers home. Fireman first class Robert Thomas Butler competed his service aboard the USS Anzio and was honorably discharged from active duty Aug. 8, 1946. He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy after the remainder of his inactive reserve duty in July 1954.
God bless all who served honorably, including our father Bob Butler, and God bless America.