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#4 LtCol Jackson B. Butterfield ’38

Bicentennial Admin 200 Things about Norwich, Military Milestones

LtCol Jackson Butterfield

On 19 February, 1945, the 3d, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions conducted their assault on Iwo Jima. Leading from the front was the battalion commander for the First Battalion of the 28th Marines – LtCol Jackson B. Butterfield, Norwich Class of 1938.

The 1/28 were tasked with hitting the beach first and severing the head from the snake; cutting off Mt. Suribachi from the rest of the island. After the LVT(A)’s from the Second Armored Amphibian Battalion hit Green Beach and took up positions up on the left flank of the beach, B and C Companies came ashore followed closely by A Company and began their advance across the narrowest point of the island. Moments later, LtCol Butterfield came ashore and the push to isolate Mt. Suribachi was on. By the end of the day, 1/28 would be the only battalion to meet its objective on the first day. Over the next 35 days, LtCol Butterfield would lead his Marines to victory. The Marines of 1/28 would go on to receive at least 67 citations for valor, including two Medals of Honor and six Navy Crosses. LtCol Butterfield was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the battle. His citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel Jackson B. Butterfield (MCSN: 0-5840), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Twenty-eighth Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, from 19 February to 25 March 1945. Landing his Battalion in the assault on 19 February, with the mission of getting quickly across the Island, Lieutenant Colonel Butterfield skillfully maneuvered his force in the face of heavy enemy machine-gun and mortar fire from the front and both flanks. When the assault elements were pinned down on the beach immediately after landing, he urged them forward and started the Battalion on a steady advance which did not halt, despite continuous and bitter opposition, until the other side of the Island had been reached. His outstanding courage and devotion to duty in directing the attack were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Scene of the Battle of Iwo JimaWhile a cadet at Norwich, Jackson Bayley Butterfield was affectionately referred to as “Butts”. Butterfield was of diminutive stature and was known to have a great sense of humor. He was recognized as a leader at Norwich long before commanding the First Battalion of the 28th Marines and was an accomplished cadet. A Civil Engineering Major, he received the Freshman Military Medal, the Sophomore Military Medal, the Sons of the American Revolution Medal, the Wheatley Medal, the Shuttleworth Saber, and the Grenville Ellis Rifle Cup. He was a member of Phi Kappa Delta, played football, wrestled, was Captain of the Rifle Team and held the Cadet ranks of Corporal, Master Sergeant and Cadet Major (Corps of Cadets Commander).

Submitted by Gary Appleby ’90