Clarksville, TN – The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Austin Peay State University (APSU) is celebrating its 50th year. To mark the occasion, each month through the end of the year, we’ll share one story of a Governor’s Guard alumni or former leader. This month, we share the story of APSU alumnus retired Brigadier General Remo Butler.
Butler, 69, holds two major distinctions for Austin Peay State University’s ROTC program. Butler, who was commissioned into the Army on March 14th, 1975, became the university’s first cadet to become a general officer in the Army.
And in June 2000, he became the first Black officer in the Special Forces to make the rank of brigadier general.
Butler ultimately served 29 years, and he spent most of those in the Special Forces, commanding at every level, including as commander of Special Operations Command South.
“I took pride in everything I did. Everything,” he said during a February 2021 interview after being named an NBA Hometown Hero by the Orlando Magic. “Many of the things I did, I was the first minority to do them or one of the few minorities to do them. I took pride in that. I took a great deal of pride in helping other people move up.”
He also commanded the 1st Special Warfare Training Group in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and he served as chief of staff for the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
Butler holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. He also earned a Master of Science degree from Troy State University in personnel management.
His initial tour of duty was with 2/17th Field Artillery, Camp Pelham, South Korea. Returning to the United States he was assigned from 1976 to 1977 as a platoon leader and then as company executive officer with the 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
After completing the Special Forces Qualification Course in 1977, he was assigned as a detachment commander in Company C, and later as executive officer of Company A, 3rd Battalion, 7th special forces Group (Airborne), Panama. In 1980, he attended the Infantry Officer Advanced course and later commanded Company C, Infantry Training Group, Fort Benning, Georgia.
He returned to Fort Bragg and Special Forces in February 1984 and served as company executive officer and battalion S-3 respectively, until assuming command of Company C, 2/7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
After completing the Armed Forces Staff College he was assigned in 1988 to Special Operations Command South, Panama, as director J3 and as a special operations plans officer. He was also a participant in Operation Just Cause. He departed Panama in July 1991 to become an instructor at the Armed Forces Staff College until December 1992.
He returned to Fort Bragg to command 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from January 1993-1995. He then was assigned as deputy chief of staff to U.S. Army Special Forces Command until his departure to the United States Army War College.
After the War College, he was assigned as chief, Special Operations Coordination Element, XVIII Airborne Corps. Butler commanded the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), U.S. Army Special Warfare Center and School, from 1997 through 1999. He was reassigned as the deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 1999 to 2000. His most recent assignment was as the commanding general, Special Operations Command South, from June 2000 to July 2003.
He is an independent consultant and was most recently the project manager for the Baghdad Embassy Security Force in Iraq. Since his retirement, he has worked for many large companies across the world, including for Special Operations Command as director of international security.