Chris Butler, US Naval Commander, Gives Back to Aslan Youth

Chris Butler is an amazing man with an incredible story. Chris, an Aslan graduate who grew up on William Street in Tinton Falls, NJ came back to his roots all the way from Australia where he now lives. Chris spoke to Aslan Youth and several of Aslan’s board members and major donors in early October at Long Branch Covenant Church, in Long Branch, NJ.

He spoke about his early ambitions of wanting to become an astronaut and how he drew inspiration from Star Trek and the Six Million Dollar Man (sci-fi TV shows in the 1970’s). He set his eyes on the prize and worked with Aslan co-founder, Bill Neergaard, who helped him figure out the educational path he had to take to become an astronaut. He found out he had to be at the top of his class to attend the United States Naval Academy, graduating with a STEM degree, select jet aircrafts, attend two years of flight school, and obtain at least 1000 hours of pilot-in-command time on jet aircrafts. Unfortunately, he didn’t physically qualify to be an astronaut because during his pre-flight school physical examination, it was discovered that his eyesight was trending towards less than 20/20 vision. However, he didn’t let that stop his desire to be an explorer. He set his sights on underwater exploration as opposed to outer space.

He spoke about his journey from growing up in a single-parent home in New Shrewsbury, NJ (now Tinton Falls), to graduating from Annapolis, and he credits his time with Aslan as the defining factor in his amazing story of success.

Parts of his inspiring story were several key decisions he made that radically changed the course of his life. At Annapolis, Chris was offered a starting position on the Navy football team. But because of his desire to graduate at the top of his class, he turned down a promising sports career to become a top Naval Engineer and Scientist.

Some of Chris’s accomplishments include: becoming a Submarine Warfare Qualified Officer on board nuclear powered submarines; when stationed in Naples, Italy, being responsible for the safe operations of over 100 NATO submarines in the Mediterranean; obtaining his master’s degree in Oceanography & Meteorology at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey CA, and becoming eligible for the Astronaut program as a mission specialist; and stationed in London UK as the Associate Director Ocean, Atmosphere, and Space Science and Technology for the Office of Naval Research Global, travelling to 41 countries and assisting 64 countries with scientific collaborations on behalf of the USA.  Chris is currently the Director and Principal for his company Aslan Alliance Pty Ltd, and is providing consultancy services to the Director, Defense and Space Research Office at Curtin University in Western Australia.

Aslan was founded by Craig Bogard, his wife, Lynn Ann, and Craig’s sister & brother-in-law, Dusty & Bill Neergaard, in 1975. “It is a privilege for us when children allow us to work with them and help them learn to make Right Choices, in life. We love how our work with one child can change the lives of thousands of people around the world. This is what it’s all about,” states Craig Bogard, Executive Director for Aslan.

Teaching children how to live and what to value in life permeates everything we do – every tutoring session, every bicycle trip, every summer camp, everything! The world is filled with children making wrong choices. Chris is one of thousands of lives that have been transformed by coming to Aslan. Before Butler left for the Academy, he said, “If God can be with you guys through all the good and the bad, I figure he can be with me.” We salute Christopher Butler, USN, CDR Ret. for his incredibly valuable service to the United States of America.

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