Butler, Henry, Jr., VADM

 Service Photo   Service Details
284 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1942-1944, Executive Office Secretary of the Navy (EXOS), Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
Service Years
1891 - 1944
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

124 kb

Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Butler, Henry, Jr. (DSM), VADM.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Paterson, NJ
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Aug 06, 1957
Location of Interment
Aberdeen Providing Ground Cemetery - Aberdeen, Maryland
Wall/Plot Coordinates

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin US Navy Retired 30

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Vice Admiral Henry Varnum Butler, Jr.

Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Awarded for actions during World War I 
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Captain Henry Varnum Butler, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO, engaged in laying mines in the North Sea during World War I.

General Orders: Authority: Navy Book of Distinguished Service (Stringer)
Action Date: World War I
Service: Navy 
Rank: Captain
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. San Francisco

Henry Varnum Butler was born in Paterson, New Jersey on 9 March 1874. He was appointed to the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from the Sixth District of New York in 1891. He served two years at sea as a passed midshipman as was then required by law before receiving his commission as an ensign in 1897. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he was aide to Captain Charles Vernon Gridley, commanding officer of USS Olympia, Admiral George Dewey's flagship. He participated in the Battle of Manila Bay and was present when Admiral Dewey uttered his famous words: "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." 

He was attached to USS Buffalo during the Boxer Uprising in China and was aboard that vessel at Taku when the Seymour Relief Expedition started for Peking in 1900. During the Philippine Insurrection he commanded USS Mindora, a small river gunboat, and in the fall of 1901 he went aboard USS Vicksburg. After his return to the United States in 1903, he had a two-year tour of shore duty at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island, and in the Bureau of Steam Engineering, in the Navy Department, Washington, DC. In 1906 he was assigned to USS West Virginia. 

He commanded USS San Francisco, flagship of the Mine-laying Squadron in World War I, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for service in command of that vessel. In 1926 he was assigned to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida where he qualified as a naval aviation observer. He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral in 1927 and was placed in command of the Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet in 1929. 

From 1931 to 1933 he served as the commandant of the Washington Navy Yard. The sudden death of Rear Admiral Ridley B. McClean in 1933 left a vacancy in the battleship divisions, causing the unexpected transfer of Admiral Butler from Washington to the West Coast. In May 1934, Rear Admiral Butler assumed command of the Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Force. Shortly after taking that command, he was appointed a vice admiral, becoming the first officer of that rank to be placed in command of the Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Force. He reverted to the permanent rank of rear admiral when he was relieved of that command in 1936. 

Rear Admiral Butler retired from the Navy in 1938.

He was recalled to active duty in 1942 and served until 1944 as Vice Admiral.
Other Comments:
Henry Varnum Butler (1874-1957) 

Born on March 9, 1974 in Paterson, New Jersey. 

Graduated from Annapolis in 1895 and commissioned in 1897. Aide to Captain Charles V. Gridley aboard the Olympia at the battle of Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War. Served aboard the Buffalo during the Boxer Rebellion and Commanding Officer of the Mindora in the Philippine Insurrection of 1901. Aide to Admiral George Dewey 1907-1911. Captain of the port at Panama Canal Zone 1914-1915. 

Commanding Officer of the San Francisco attached to the British Grand Fleet in World War I. 

Commanding Officer of the Michigan in 1921 and the Saratoga 1926-1927. Rear Admiral in 1927. Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief United States Fleet 1927-1929. Superintendent of the Naval Gun Factory 1931-1934. Vice Admiral in April 1935. Commander of Aircraft, Battle Force 1935-1936. Commandant of Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Naval Districts 1936-1938. 

Retired in April 1938. Recalled to active duty in March 1942. Administrative Officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy March 1942-October 1944. Decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal. 

Died on August 6, 1957.
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Observer Wings
Command at Sea

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US NavyCommander, US Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)NAS PensacolaSecretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
  1897-1899, USS Olympia (C-6)
  1900-1900, USS Buffalo (1892)
  1900-1901, USS Mindoro (1899) gunboat
  1901-1903, USS Vicksburg (PG-11)
  1905-1906, Bureau of Steam Engineering
  1906-1909, USS West Virginia (ACR-5)
  1918-1918, USS San Francisco (C-5)
  1918-1919, Commander, Mine Sweeping Detachment, US Atlantic Fleet (WWI)
  1921-1922, USS Michigan (BB-27)
  1926-1927, NAS Pensacola
  1927-1929, NAS Pensacola
  1929-1931, Commander, Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet
  1931-1933, Det Navy Yard Washington, Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center (NFESC)
  1933-1934, Commander Battleship Division 1
  1934-1936, Commander Aircraft Battle Force
  1936-1938, 6th Naval District
  1936-1938, 7th Naval District
  1936-1938, 8th Naval District
  1938-1942, Broken Service
  1942-1944, Executive Office Secretary of the Navy (EXOS), Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1898-1898 Spanish-American War/Battle of Manila Bay
  1900-1902 China Relief Expedition
  1917-1918 World War I
  1942-1944 World War II
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1891-1895, United States Naval Academy
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Henry Varnum Butler, Jr.3
  Apr 10, 1933, Title Board of inquiry for the U.S.S. Akron1
  Sep 01, 2012, General Photos
Copyright Togetherweserved.com Inc 2003-2011