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1938 Milton "Butch" 2024

Milton "Butch" Wayne Ritchey

September 16, 1938 — April 3, 2024

Milton "Butch" Wayne Ritchey of Aledo, Texas, passed away peacefully in his home with his wife and sister-in-law by his side on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

Butch was born September 16, 1938 to Earlene (Henry) and Luther Ritchey in Kingston, Oklahoma. He was the first of three children.

Butch grew up in Denison, Texas, graduating from Denison High School in 1955. He then attended Northeastern University in Durant, Oklahoma. As a teen he worked in his dad’s garage and his love of cars only grew. His first car being a red Triumph 4 in 1963 and from there he had: a Pontiac GTO, an MGB, a 1970 24oz Datson, a BMW and a Tesla. Butch also loved to fly; a passion shared by his father, brother and two sons.

In 1958 he enlisted in the Navy and held his first assignment in Honolulu, Hawaii. He worked hard to become a submariner, being a Qualified Electronics Technician, E-5, Second Class (ET2-SS) aboard the USS Swordfish. The Swordfish was the fourth U.S. nuclear powered submarine and was the first to change out its reactor core at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. He was among the first group of Nuclear Reactor Operators in the Naval Submarine Force. Aboard the Swordfish he was involved with two extended missions underwater. The first mission was 60 days of monitoring the number and types of ships that entered and exited a strategic area of the Baltic Sea. Years later, he would learn that his first mission had also involved monitoring underwater Russian Telephone cables. The second mission occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis and ended up being 61 days of maneuvering to evade a Russian destroyer that was locked on to trying to sink the Swordfish.

In 1963 Butch left the Navy and enrolled again in college and received his BBA from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. November of 1965, he entered the Air Force and began Offices Training School at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. By February of 1966, Butch was a Second Lieutenant, and with additional navigation, electronic warfare and B-52 upgrade training, he was assigned to the B-52 Stratofortresses stationed in Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. In June of 1968, he was assigned to Operation Arc Light, flying 43 combat missions over Vietnam. After returning from that tour Butch was ordered to Takhli, Thailand and spent a one- year tour flying the radar-jamming version of the EB-66 tactical bomber. In 1970 he had a brief assignment to Kadina Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan until the EB-66 was retired. Butch then was assigned to be an electronic warfare instructor at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California. He spent four years at Mather being a crew member on the FB-111 until he and the program were transferred to Plattsburg Air Force Base in Plattsburg, New York where Butch was instrumental in setting up the program and instructing. He then moved on in 1976 Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire this time as Chief of Defense Systems. Three years later he was in the Test and and Evaluations Division at the U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base in Sharpy County, Nebraska. Butch then became the Deputy Director at the Defense Mapping School located in the Army Installation Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia. His other assignments included: Stuttgart Airforce Base in Stuttgart, Germany; a second assignment to Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and finally, back to Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. Butch retired then in 1990 as Lieutenant Colonel after 26 years of service. During his service Butch was recognized having earned: Distinguished Flying Cross; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal W/3DEV; Air Medal W/3DEV; AF Commendation Medal W/2DEV; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; AF Outstanding Unit Award; Navy Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Award W/1DEV; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Vietnam Service Award W/3DEV; AF OS Short Tour Ribbon W1DEV; AF OS Long Tour Ribbon W/1DEV; AF Longevity Service Award W/6DEV; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon; AF Training Ribbon; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Device; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Butch also received his Master’s Degree during his service from Golden State University in San Francisco, California

In 2022 Butch married his wife, Liamara and they shared lots of love and laughs in their time together. 

Like his father, Butch loved to golf every chance he got. He enjoyed racket ball, bowling and really liked to water and downhill ski. He also loved to watch the Dallas Cowboys, particularly the period of Don Merideth and Tom Landry.

Butch is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Terry Ritchey.

He is survived by his wife, Liamara Costa (Rodrigues) Ritchey; his twin sons, Ronald and Russell Ritchey; his grandchildren: Renee, Lydia and Tommy Ritchey; his sister, June Ann (Ritchey) Fischer and her children, Melanie and Alex.

A Graveside Service will be held at 10:00 AM on Thursday, April 25, 2024 at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery located at 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, Texas, 75211.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Butch’s Honor to the Wounded Warrior Project

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To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Milton "Butch" Wayne Ritchey, please visit our flower store.


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