Sergeant Major Wayne Lee Bute was born 5 May 1940 in Kankakee, Illinois, and currently lives in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. He enlisted in the US Army in May 1958, serving 27 years, including two tours of duty in Vietnam. He served with the 5th and 11th Special Forces in Vietnam.
Bute earned the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action while serving as an advisor to friendly forces. On 8 March 1965 the Viet Cong attacked Bute's base camp. He got a recoilless rifle and headed toward Viet Cong's main assault. He was severely wounded, preventing him from firing the recoilless rifle. But he got a grenade launcher and disrupted the attack on the base's main gate by firing several rounds at the enemy. When the camp fell to the Viet Cong at dawn, Bute voluntarily participated in a successful counterattack, forcing the Viet Cong to withdraw. Bute was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his action and the Purple Heart for wounds he received in the battle. Bute's other awards include the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal for his Vietnam service. During his 27 years of service, he also received the Legion of Merit, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal. His other awards include the Combat Infantry Badge and Parachutist Badge.
SGM Bute is a retired horse trainer and was the Roundup Club Cavalcade Coggins Director responsible for the checking in of 1,000 horses for the week-long event. He was a Cub Scout Den leader; was active in the public schools' Veteran's Day events; and spent 3 years volunteering with Meals on Wheels.