Passing of RADM John Butts

The NIP received word that RADM John L. Butts passed away peacefully at around 0500 Thursday, 13 January 2011.  No viewing is planned.

Internment will be on 12 April 2011 at 1500 at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors.

Those wishing to send condolences, please write or leave a comment and we will forward an address.

RADM John L. Butts, USN-Ret., 52nd Director of Naval Intelligence.

Admiral Butts passed away peacefully after a long illness. Admiral Butts graduated from the Naval Academy in the Class of 1951, selected as a submarine officer. He attended Submarine School in Groton, CT, and served with distinction on several diesel submarines. As a Lieutenant Commander, he was selected to serve in the Eisenhower White House as an assistant Military Aide. He left his mark during that tour, noted on his end of tour fitness report with a handwritten comment from President Eisenhower:  “The finest military officer with whom I have ever served.” Having served at the highest levels of the Executive Branch, and with the realization that the future of the submarine force lay with nuclear power, Admiral Butts applied for a transfer and was accepted into the restricted Line for Special Duty, Naval Intelligence (1630). His initial tours in the intelligence field included duty at the Office of Naval Intelligence as a LCDR, and with the Naval Investigative Service in the Philippines (1964-65) as the conflict in Indo-China began to heat up. Returning to the National Capital Region, he served in the ONI Estimates section (1965-67), and on the staff of the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe , (1968-71). Returning to CONUS with his family, Admiral Butts headed the Naval Section in DIA’s Directorate for Intelligence at Bolling AFB, and subsequently as Commander of the Naval Field Operational Intelligence Office (NFOIO) in the mid 1970s. Selected for flag rank while serving as the J2 at USCINCLANT at Norfolk, he returned to Washington to Command the ONI and his last active tour as the Director of Naval Intelligence at the height of offensive and defensive submarine operations of the Cold War (1982-85). Admiral Butts and his wife Joy retired to Pensacola, FL, in 1985, where they lived in retirement until shortly before he passed away.

In addition to his wife of some sixty years, he leaves daughters Jennifer and Janet, and son Jeff and several grandchildren. Scheduled interment at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors is  12 April 2011 at 1530. For those desiring to attend, please report to the visitor’s center a half hour prior. For those wishing to send condolences, his wife Joy’s mailing address is 13550 Heathcote Blvd , Gainesville , VA , 20155.

1 comment for “Passing of RADM John Butts

  1. January 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm


    Rear Admiral John Butts graduated Columbia Military Academy, Columbia, TN. I publish the school’s quarterly news letter, the Bugle, and need a copy of his obituary to notify his classmates. Please forward me a copy of his obit at:

    Feel free to review the school web site at

    Bill Raiford

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