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Retired Sgt. Victor W. Butler is believed to be the sole surviving member of the historic Tuskegee Airman in Rhode Island. He turns 100 on May 21, and is asking for people to send their love in the form of a birthday card.
Butler understands the cultural shift he’s recognized for and wants people to know he sees them as well.
The Red Tails gained a renewed sense of appreciation after the debut of their historic film in 2012, which would gross over $49 million.
Red Tails did Black History right.
Victor Butler was a part of a group of Black pilots and airmen that made history while fighting in World War II, all while facing enemies abroad and domestically.
Through their bravery and skill, they broke barriers and led the way for desegregation in the U.S. military.
At first, I was going to join the Canadian Air Force with a friend of mine, but after I had signed up, my mother and father wouldn’t approve of it. So, I joined with the American Air Force,” said Butler.
Victor Butler became a mechanic for the Tuskegee Airmen. Working on planes and dealing with vile racism kept life in perspective even as he ascended in his career.
“The airfield was very nice. It was the visit to the town that was bad,” said Butler.
“Being in Tuskegee, Alabama, it wasn’t very acceptable to White people for Black soldiers to be walking around,” he said.
Victor Butler wants his flowers, but he’ll take a card.
“Oh, I’ll read every one of them,” said Butler. He continued, “Just enjoy life as it is. Be thankful,” he said. “I’m thankful that I have a nice wife, and a nice home to live in.”
“There are so many people that have lost their home and I am very fortunate to have a nice home and wife and my family who come to visit me often,” said Butler.
If you would like to send Butler a birthday card, you can mail it to:
C/O Gary Butler
P.O. box. 3523
Cranston, RI 02910
Editor’s note: This article previously stated Victor Butler is the last living Red Tails member. He is the last living Red Tails member in Rhode Island.