Brigadier General Fred Butler ’13 was another SI graduate who played an integral role in the war. After three years in the college division, he graduated from West Point in 1918 and from the U.S. Army Engineer Schools in 1921. He remained in the U.S. Army until his retirement in 1953.
He worked in China and Outer Mongolia with the Army Corps of Engineers and taught at West Point before returning to San Francisco in 1927. He helped to create Treasure Island for the 1939–40 Golden Gate International Exposition and supervised roadwork on Yerba Buena during his stay here. After the fair ended, Treasure Island was sold to the U.S. Navy and became the base of operations for the war in the Pacific Theatre.
In World War II, he was involved in both the African and Italian campaigns and the invasion of Southern France. For his efforts, he received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. France honored him with the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor, and Italy awarded him the Cross of Valor. (The October 20, 1944, edition of the G.I. Wildcat reported that “Brig. Gen. Fred Butler has been making the headlines lately. He is the leader of ‘Butler’s Task Force,’ driving up France to Berlin. His son Bill Butler is a member of the senior class at the High School.”)
After the war he served as manager of the San Francisco International Airport and as a commissioner for the SFFD. In 1962, Pope John XXIII honored him with the title of Knight of Malta and in 1965, SI gave him the Christ the King Award.