CAPT Frank K. Butler, MD, US Navy Retired
Individual Award Winner, 2017
Captain Frank K. Butler, (USN ret), MD served as a Navy SEAL, as an innovator and leader in Navy and civilian dive medicine, and most importantly as the driving force of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC). TCCC are strategies for providing the best trauma care on the battlefield and a set of guidelines to properly train non-medics to deal with the preventable causes of death in the field and now in the civilian world. “In researching the career of Dr. Butler, it became obvious that he is indeed a ‘Living Letterman,’” explains NMCWM Executive Director David Price, “Dr. Butler’s accomplishments in the military, in the diving world, in ophthalmology and in civilian medicine are too numerous to list, however the singular achievement of his amazing career is conceiving and bringing to worldwide implementation of TCCC. He literally wrote the book on the guidelines to critical care in combat – just like Major Jonathan Letterman did during the Civil War. There are few more deserving of this award than Dr. Butler.”
The civilian world is now impacted by Dr. Butler through the ‘Stop the Bleed’ initiative, which is based on the success of the TCCC guidelines in dramatically reducing combat deaths. The ‘Stop the Bleed’ campaign aims to teach citizens basic techniques in hemorrhage control so that an injured person has the greatest chance of surviving until they can reach a hospital. “The potential impact of this initiative could rival the benefits of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver in the civilian world. Military medicine quickly translates to the civilian world – in this case through training people in the use of a tourniquet,” observed Executive Director Price.
“Without any exaggeration, Navy SEALs are more lethal, military and civilian divers are safer and thousands of wounded combatants are alive because of his singular efforts,” says Butler’s colleague and nominator Dr. John B. Holcomb. “The military community understands his tremendous contributions, as evidenced by a Forward Surgery Team located on a Logistic Support Area just south of Mosul, in northern Iraq, naming the road in front of their tents, the ‘Frank Butler Boulevard’.” Dr. Holcomb was the recipient of the 2016 Major Jonathan Letterman Medical Excellence Award.