Butts Army Airfield (BAAF)
The primary mission for Butts Army Airfield (BAAF) is to provide fully integrated fixed base helicopter operations
and support for all Army aviation assets assigned to, or training on Fort Carson. Airfield operations and
services include Base Flight Operations, Control Tower/Ground Approach Control Facility, USAF weather, Airport
Safety, Airspace Management, Flight Simulator, Rapid Refuel Facility, and Crash/Fire/Rescue station. The
airfield has an FAA approved instrument approach. The airfield also provides UH-60 A/L, Longbow Crew Trainer,
Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer and AH-64 Synthetic Flight Training Systems for all Fort Carson aviation
units and specific National Guard.
John E. Butts
- Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Co. E, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division.
- Medal of Honor Awarded Posthumously
- Place and date: Normandy, France, 14, 16, and 23 June 1944.
- Entered service at: Buffalo, New York.
- Born: Medina, New York.
- G.O. #: 58, 19 July 1945.
2nd Lt. Butts heroically led his platoon against the enemy in Normandy, France, on 14, 16, and 23 June 1944.
Although painfully wounded on the 14th near Orglandesand again on the 16th while spearheading an attack to
establish a bridgehead across the DouveRiver, he refused medical aid and remained with his platoon. A week
later, near FlottemanvilleHague, he led an assault on a tactically important and stubbornly defended hill
studded with tanks, antitank guns, pillboxes, and machinegun emplacements, and protected by concentrated
artillery and mortar fire. As the attack was launched, 2d Lt. Butts, at the head of his platoon, was critically
wounded by German machinegun fire. Although weakened by his injuries, he rallied his men and directed one
squad to make a flanking movement while he alone made a frontal assault to draw the hostile fire upon himself.
Once more he was struck, but by grim determination and sheer courage continued to crawl ahead. When within
10 yards of his objective, he was killed by direct fire. By his superb courage, unflinching valor and inspiring
actions, 2d Lt. Butts enabled his platoon to take a formidable strong point and contributed greatly to the
success of his battalion's mission.
After the war, Butts' remains were brought back from Normandy to the United States in 1948 and interred at St.
Mary's cemetery In New York. In 1957 the Army airfield at Fort Carson, Colorado was named the Butts Army
More about the base itself...
In early 1949, landing an aircraft at Camp Carson was extremely hazardous. A bumpy dirt strip on the edge of
the post was the only facility available. Dust often decreased the visibility to zero. Appropriations in
the fall of that year allowed for the bulldozing of a new dirt strip and construction of a small wooden operations
shack. However, aircraft maintenance had to be done in the open and the wind still made landing and taking
off hazardous. As a result of the uncertain conditions at the Carson strip, the first Army aircraft operated
by post personnel were based in a single hangar at Peterson Field.
In 1954, air operations were moved to an area now in NCO housing. Winds of 60 knots or better were common, making
the approach over the hospital complex extremely tricky. There were no hangars either. When high winds came
up, trucks had to be parked beside the aircraft to protect them.
Two years later, air operations were again relocated, this time to a mesa strip adjacent to today's Butts Army
Airfield. There was one building on Mesa Air Strip, but it was dilapidated. Eventually a T-shaped pre-fabricated
hangar was constructed; but by the time it was completed, it was already obsolete.
Appropriations for modern improvements were made in the fall of 1963. Three years and nearly $3 million later,
Butts Field was a modern airfield.
The Butts Army Airfield aviation facility is featured at Fort Carson. The facility was constructed during 1963-66
and primarily supports helicopters, for which it features a panoptic helipad. The facility also features
a 4,573ft (1,394m) long runway, which can handle light fixed-wing aircraft such as the C-12. Other heavier
fixed-wing military aircraft operate from the nearby Peterson AFB.