Vernon R. Butler is a native of Calvin, Oklahoma, whose family moved to Oklahoma City during his childhood. He left high school at the age of 17 to join the Navy. Moving early in his career to the Philippine Islands, he joined VPHL-9, a heavy patrol squadron. In 1950, after serving in many other capacities he separated from military service, but returned the following year as an aviation mechanic and served tours in Vietnam in 1967, 1968 and 1969.
In his career as an officer, after 15 years enlisted duty, he was instrumental in bringing about several improvements in the aircraft maintenance area and in Naval operations, and he spent much of his free time on Iwo Jima visiting and assisting wounded Marines. He also established a church congregation for sailors and Marines. In retirement he remains active with veterans and patriotic groups, including strong support of ROTC units and making presentations to high schools on the United States Flag.