A star celebration: Wing honors commander’s promotion at unique ceremony

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The 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard celebrated the promotion of its wing commander Col. Jeffrey L. Butler to brigadier general in a ceremony Oct. 4, 2020, at the Morris Air National Guard Base. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the wing creatively held a ceremony for Butlerís promotion by limiting attendance to family and distinguished guests, in person, while live-streaming the event to members across base. (Air National Guard photograph by Senior Master Sgt. Charles Givens)
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The 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard celebrated the promotion of its wing commander Col. Jeffrey L. Butler to brigadier general in a ceremony Oct. 4, 2020, at the Morris Air National Guard Base.

Butler, who assumed command of the 162ndWing in April 2020 from Brig. Gen. Andrew MacDonald, previously served as the wing vice commander under MacDonald beginning in September 2017.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the wing could not hold an assumption of command ceremony in the spring. However, the unit creatively held a ceremony for Butler’s promotion by limiting attendance to family and distinguished guests, in person, while live-streaming the event to members across base.

During the ceremony, Butler described the core values he aims to instill in the wing: faith, family and service.

“Faith, family, service is a set of priorities that my team is trying to get into our airmen’s minds. Service is third, third priority,” said Butler. “As far as family goes, if our airmen have robust families outside the gate, they’ll be the best airmen they can be in the way of service to the base, and we want them to have something left over after they serve, called family. We want that to be robust, so their batteries are charged by the most powerful human dynamic on earth, and that’s family.”

The 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard celebrated the promotion of its wing commander Col. Jeffrey L. Butler to brigadier general in a ceremony Oct. 4., 2020, at the Morris Air National Guard Base. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unit creatively held a ceremony for Butlerís promotion by limiting attendance to family and distinguished guests, in person, while live-streaming the event to members across base.
(Air National Guard photograph by Maj. Mary Hook)

Butler illustrated his focus on family by reflecting on his own family, particularly his wife Cindi, and thanking them for helping him reach this point of his career.

“I have a lot of family: seven kids and my wife,” said Butler. “My wife found me 35 years ago. It took her five years to get me foundationally solid, something ‘marry-able’, and she’s been building brick by brick ever since.”

During his address, Butler made a special note to recognize his mentor Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire, The Adjutant General for Arizona.

“In the leadership arena, one of the rarest things on earth is effective leadership. I don’t know why, per se, but true leadership is pretty rare. When a leader leads, it’s even more rare for them to leave leaders in their wake,” said Butler. “[Maj. Gen. Maguire] is magical in how he builds leaders behind him, all the while leading where he goes, in every area of the state. The state of Arizona is fortunate to have him, especially over the past eight months of pandemic.”

Butler began his military career upon graduating from the United Stated Air Force Academy in 1988. After attending undergraduate pilot training, Butler ascended to the position of F-16 pilot where he served in multiple operational, combat, and training assignments. Butler joined the 162ndWing in 1996 where he served in several capacities.

Butler is a command pilot with more than 5,000 combined flying hours in the F-16, T-37, and T-38. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Aeronautical Science Technology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He also completed various professional military education courses from the Air Force.

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