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1st Theater Sustainment Command

News Stories

Alabama’s deployed 135th ESC send last surviving Tuskegee Airman 135 birthday cards

By Capt. Joshua Sik | 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command | May 20, 2022


Sgt. Victor Butler, believed to be the last known surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen, is preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday on May 21. His only request was to receive birthday cards from as many people as possible, and the 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command responded.

The 135th ESC, currently deployed to Kuwait as part of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, wanted to honor Sgt. Butler’s achievement.

The unit sent “135 individually signed birthday cards from the Soldiers of the 135th ESC,” said Brig. Gen. Vickers, the unit’s commanding general. “We are indebted to [Butler] and all the Tuskegee Airmen.”

Butler was a mechanic for the Tuskegee Airmen, and he was one of the many Black military pilots and airmen who made history while fighting in World War II. In addition to those actions, the unit broke barriers and instrumentally contributed to the desegregation of the United States military.

All of the Soldiers in the unit were eager to be a part of celebrating Butler’s sacrifices and accomplishments.

“He paved the way,” said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Vandiver, one of the 135th Soldiers who sent cards. “If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be here right now.”

While the Soldiers individually wrote their special messages, others outside the unit were eager to help as well. The American Red Cross of Camp Arifjan graciously donated over one hundred cards. And David Flietstra, a civilian currently in Kuwait working for the Defense Logistics Agency, asked to pay for the package when he heard what the ESC was doing.

Butler stated that he intends to read every card, and the 135th ESC certainly hopes he does. The unit echoes his request for birthday cards. If you would like to join them and send a birthday card to Butler, you can mail it to the following address:

Victor W. Butler

C/O Gary Butler

P.O. Box 3523

Cranston, RI 02910

The 135th ESC provides operational sustainment and logistic support and is currently staffing the 1st TSC’s Operational Command Post in its support of three named operations: Inherent Resolve, Spartan Shield and Enduring Sentinel.