~MEMBERS CAREER BIOGRAPHY~
James “Larry” Butera
Colonel, USAF, Ret.
Larry was born and raised in San Diego were he met Wilma McMillan in high school. In 1951 they were married and joined the Air Force.
After serving seven years as an enlisted flight mechanic, Larry was selected for OCS, graduating in 1958. He then attended jet pilot training, receiving his wings in 1959.
For the next 22 years he commanded a variety of organizations at progressively higher levels of responsibility.
He flew several aircraft, including jet fighters, multi engine aircraft, and helicopters, accumulating over 5000 flying hours.
He served in the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts.
Flying with the Jolly Green helicopters, he flew over 200 long-range combat rescue missions in North Vietnam and Laos, recovering or assisting in the recovery of over 100 aircrew members.
In 1971, he was Mission Commander/Pilot of the First Trans-Pacific flight of two helicopters flying from Eglin AFB, Fla. to DaNang AB, Vietnam. The mission took 70 hours flying time and 14 air refuelings.