From the halls of Neosho High School to Great Lakes Naval Station, from Okinawa, Japan to Keflavik Iceland and many points in between, Kevin Butler's military service took him around the world and back again.
Butler, a 1984 graduate of NHS, had no original plan to join the military. That changed, when like all students at the high school, Butler took the ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery). His scores were high - high enough both the United States Army as well as the Navy wanted him.
His first career path choice was to become a Nuke - a Navy term for someone who has any specifications in the nuclear field.
"God has a sense of humor after all," Butler said. Instead of becoming a Nuke, Butler's Navy years were spent in an advance technical field and as a corpsman. The change in field, however, worked in the long run.
"The best was, I got to travel for free, visit other places and learn new things," Butler said. "I got to do things I had never even dreamed of doing, some so far out of my comfort zone it wasn't even funny. I learned a lot about what I was capable of doing and I made lifelong friends."
Butler spent more than 20 years in the Navy, some of it as a Marine and 9 months of that time deployed during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
"I definitely enjoyed four years with the Marines," Butler said, noting that as a corpsman he learned to work independently. "I did suturing up to minor surgeries on my own. You've got the rank, it's sink or swim. You definitely learn leadership."
When asked if there was a downside to serving, Butler replied, "I don't know if there was any worst."
Butler has no regrets.
"It was definitely a learning experience. It opened my eyes to a lot of things. I got my education through the service. Training is on the job."
Butler earned a Master of Science in management information systems from Western Governors University. He currently works as an independent computer and network security professional.
Butler ended his Naval career where it began - at Great Lakes where he served as an instructor for Navy Hospital Corpsman School.
His final rank was E6HM1.
He is a member of both VFW and the American Legion. Butler with his wife and one son make their home in Neosho.