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If you would like to nominate someone, please call (712) 325-5724
or email our newsroom at editorial@nonpareilonline.com

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Council Bluffs native uses military service,
life to serve U.S., people
Council Bluffs native and veteran Zachary
(Zac) Butcher died nearly six months ago, at
age 28.
The Marine and Air Force veteran passed
away from sepsis, after having seven surgeries
within almost five weeks.
“He had an innate sense of duty, honor,
country, and all he wanted to do was serve.
Whether it was military or law enforcement he
wanted to serve the people of the U.S,” Butcher’s
father, Brian Butcher, said.
Brian had enlisted in the Air Force, but Zac
felt drawn more to serving as a Marine after
listening to the recruiters.
“He listened to what the Air Force had to
say, walked down to the Marine recruiters and
told me ‘don’t be disappointed in me because
I went down to the Marines,’” Brian said. “I said
‘I’m proud of you, you have to go your own
path.’ Zac was a Marine through and through. I
don’t think he would have been happy initially
in the air force.”
Zac went through basic training before he
was stationed in Hawaii.
Immediately, Zac was interested in the
scout sniper position and passed the sniper
indoctrination the first time.
Zac was told he needed to wait, so he spent
a year and a half as a machine gunner before
passing the indoctrination a second time. The
second time he was accepted and trained as a
scout sniper.
“As a sniper, Zac could regulate the beat
of his heart so he could fire between the beat
of his heart,” he said. “It was an overall sense of
your body and target picture focus, you get so
focused on your target and breathing that it
just becomes second nature.”
While in the Air Force, Brian had tried out
for the swat team while on active duty and had
been trained as a sniper.
“I didn’t go looking for that, but Zac did. He
had a goal in mind and achieved it,” Brian said.
Zac had done this throughout his life,

3320 Mid America Dr.
Council Bluffs, Iowa

322-0101

Missing out on
these special
salutes?
Courtesy of Brian Butcher
Zac Butcher
Brian said.
At St. Albert High School, Zac was a
defensive lineman, and three-year starter in
state, Brian said.
“In the state semifinal game, he fell on his
knee and had to have knee surgery in 2007,” he
said. “He was so adamant about running track
that he was on the track team and running
sprints and meets in February.”
In the military, he remained just as driven
and reached acting as a sniper.
He used this drive while stationed in the
U.S. or abroad in areas like South Korea, the
Philippians, or Australia.
After his service reached four years, Zac
expressed interest in serving in the Middle East.
“I was in the air force and did a tour in the
Middle East. I was called up on Sept. 11, 2001,”
Brian said.“He wanted to basically finish the war
we started.”
Zac had wanted to serve in the Marine

Corps Force Reconnaissance in the Middle
East, but they were not accepting prior service
Marines at the time.
Following his previous pattern, Zac went
to talk with the Air Force recruiter to get more
information.
The recruiter said the only thing he could
qualify for was special operations as a former
Marine.
“There was a time span of a year or so, where
he went into the Air Force and graduated as a
TACP,” Brian said.“They discovered that he had a
congenital heart disorder, and discharged him.”
Zac was discharged from the Air Force after
two years of service.
He worked in Lincoln, Nebraska in
corrections after being discharged and was
in the selection process for the border patrol
when he died.
He was buried in the Omaha National
Cemetery in April.

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