The things [the Marines] did that day are the sort of things you read about in books.” That's how Capt. Butler remembers the intense house-to-house searches in Fallujah, Iraq, on Dec. 23, 2004.
Butler, then a 1st lieutenant, and his team were weaving their way through the treacherous streets of Fallujah to root out insurgents when enemies ambushed his platoon. Butler quickly ran toward the attack and found several Marines taking heavy fire from insurgents embedded in a house. As he began extracting the pinned down men from the house, he realized that more Marines were trapped on the second floor.
Once all the men below were moved to a better location, Butler gathered a team together to recover the other men.
Their best option was to enter an adjacent house and storm the insurgents from the neighboring position. Butler directed Marines laid down suppressive fire as he and the assault team quickly darted out onto the street and ran into the second house. Insurgents continued to pour a heavy stream of fire upon the men, but Butler pushed on. The assault team ran up the stairs and onto the rooftop.
Braving the enemy fire, Butler stood up and scanned the area to assess the situation. Jumping roof to roof, Butler and his team cleared the two buildings under heavy fire to retrieve the trapped men. Enemy fighters continued to fight; when they threw a grenade toward Butler's position, he shielded the bodies of fallen Marines instead of securing himself from the blast. He then lobbied two grenades into a room full of insurgents, clearing the area.
Despite the continuing fire, Butler was able to move all the men to safety on the adjacent rooftop. For his actions, Butler was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device on May 19, 2006.