Air Commander

Brigadier General Steven J. ButowBrigadier General Steven J. Butow
Commander
California Air National Guard

Brigadier General Steven J. Butow

Brig. Gen. Steven J. Butow serves as Commander, California Air National Guard. In this role, he is the primary advisor to The Adjutant General on all programs, strategic planning, and operations affecting the California Air National Guard. He is responsible for the mission readiness and operational effectiveness across a broad spectrum of programs and activities involving five wings and over 4900 military and civilian personnel serving at ten locations within California. In this role, General Butow oversees development of operationally trained, equipped, and mission ready forces in support of national defense requirements and emergency response, relief, and recovery operations throughout California.

General Butow received his commission in 1989 from the Academy of Military Sciences, Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was recognized as a distinguished graduate. Upon earning his qualification as a combat rescue pilot, he made more than ten Air Expeditionary Force deployments in support of Operations DESERT STORM, SOUTHERN WATCH, PROVIDE COMFORT II, NORTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. General Butow was selected by Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command as the HC-130 Working Group Chairman at the 2004 Combat Air Forces Weapons and Tactics Conference. He served as Deputy Director of the United States Central Command Joint Search and Rescue Center in 2005, and as the United States Air Forces Central Command Chief of Personnel Recovery in 2007. As Commander of the 129th Rescue Wing, General Butow maintained the mission readiness of 970 Airmen, four MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft and five HH-60G Pavehawk helicopters in support of both global and homeland taskings. As the Vice Chief of the Joint Staff for the California Military Department, which leads the second largest state National Guard force in the nation, he shared responsibility for integrating and synchronizing joint forces to protect the state’s population of 40 million and the fifth largest economy in the world. General Butow previously served as Special Assistant to the Director, Air National Guard for Headquarters Air Force, Plans, Programs and Requirements.

Education

  • 1988 Bachelor’s degree in Physics, San Jose State University, California
  • 2005 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, by correspondence
  • 2010 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama., by correspondence
  • 2013 Advanced Joint Professional Military Education, Joint Forces Staff College, by seminar
  • 2016 Master’s in Space Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2018 National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Cohort 16, Harvard University, Massachusetts

Assignments

  • April 1989 – April 1990, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas
  • June 1990 – February 1991, Student, 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
  • July 1992 – July 1999, HC-130P Pilot, 129th Rescue Squadron, Moffett Field, California
  • July 1999 – April 2004, MC-130P Pilot, 129th Rescue Squadron, Moffett Field, California
  • May 2002 – May 2006, Chief, Weapons and Tactics, 129th Operations Support Flight, Moffett Field, California
  • May 2005 – October 2005,Deputy Director, USCENTCOM Joint Personnel Recovery Center, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
  • May 2006 – March 2008, Commander, 129th Operations Support Flight, Moffett Field, California
  • May 2007 – October 2007, Chief, USCENTAF/A3 Personnel Recovery, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
  • March 2008 – September 2010, Deputy Commander, 129th Operations Group, Moffett Field, California
  • October 2010 – July 2011, Vice Commander, 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Field, California
  • July 2011 – July 2014, Wing Commander, 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Field, California
  • July 2014 – September 2015, Vice Chief of Staff, Joint Staff, California National Guard, Sacramento, California
  • October 2015 – June 2016, Military Lead, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, Mountain View, Calif. dual hatted Vice Chief of Staff, California Air National Guard, Sacramento, California
  • September 2019 – April 2021, Special Assistant to the Director, Air National Guard for Headquarters Air Force, Plans, Programs and Requirements, Arlington, Virginia
  • April 2021 – Present, Commander, California Air National Guard, Sacramento, California

Awards and Decorations

  • Legion of Merit
  • Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
  • Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters
  • Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf cluster
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
  • Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster

Flight Information

  • Rating: Command Pilot
  • Flight Hours: More than 3,300
  • Aircraft Flown: T-37, T-38, C-130, HC-130P, MC-130P
  • Pilot Wings: Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas  

Other Achievements 

  • 1987 Air Force Association Chapter 361 Outstanding Airman of the Year
  • 1992 Air Force Association Chapter 361 Outstanding Company Grade Officer of the Year
  • 1997 Air Combat Command Superior Performer Award
  • 1999 NASA Ames Outstanding Achievement Award
  • 2000 NASA Ames Honor Award
  • 2005 Joint Red Flag Outstanding Performer
  • 2007 129th Rescue Wing Field Grade Officer of the Year
  • 2008 California Air National Guard Field Grade Officer of the Year

Effective Dates of Promotions

  • Second Lieutenant April 6, 1989
  • First Lieutenant May 15, 1991
  • Captain May 15, 1993
  • Major May 15, 2000
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jan. 5, 2006
  • Colonel March 22, 2011
  • Brigadier General September 16, 2019

(Current as of April 2021)