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Captain Thomas “Smokey” Butts
Commanding Officer, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3
Captain Thomas Butts is a native of Erlanger, KY. He enlisted in the Navy in 1995 as a Radioman and was later selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program. He graduated from the University of North Florida in 2002 and was designated a Naval Aviator in December 2004. After receiving his “Wings of Gold” he reported to the “Merlins” of HSC-3 for initial training in the MH-60S Knighthawk.
CAPT Butts has completed operational flying tours with the “Island Knights” of HSC-25 (Junior Officer) and the “Sea Knights” of HSC-22 (Department Head). He served his disassociated tour as the Air Boss on USS SAN ANTONIO (LPD-17).
His shore assignments include two Fleet Replacement Squadron flight instructor tours with the “Fleet Angels” of HSC-2 as well as a joint tour assignment on the Joint Staff in the J-7 Directorate where he worked in the Joint Exercise Division directly supporting the Chairman’s Exercise Program and United States Transportation Command. Post O5 command he was assigned to the OPNAV N98 Staff where he served as the MH-60S Requirements Officer.
He is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Executive MBA program, completed JPME Phase I through the Air Force Air Command and Staff College and in residence JPME Phase II at the Joint Forces Staff College.
In command at sea, he led the 2021 Battle “E” award winning HSC-25 “Island Knights” and the HSC-7 “Dusty Dogs”.
CAPT Butts has accumulated 2,600 flight hours and was awarded the 2015 Navy and Marine Corps Leadership Award. His other awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (8 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (5 awards) and various personal, unit and campaign awards.
Last Updated: 23 October 2023