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Sgt. William R. Button (T-AK-3012)


Named for William Robert Button, USMC (3 December 1895-15 April 1921) was a corporal who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in killing Haitian nationalist leader Charlemagne Peralte on 31 October – 1 November 1919. Button rose to the rank of sergeant before dying at age 25 from malaria. This is the first ship to bear the name.

(T-AK-3012; displacement 44,330; length 675’; beam 106’; draft 30’; speed ; complement 37 civilians and 8 Navy personnel; class 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo).

The first SGT William R. Button was built by General Dynamics Quincy Shipbuilding Division, Quincy, Mass. acquired by the Navy under a long-term charter on 22 May 1986; placed in service under the direction of the Military Sealift Command as MV SGT William R. Button to be operated by American Overseas Marine Corporation; acquired by the Military Sealift Command on 15 January 2009 and placed in service as USNS SGT William R. Button.

On 24 May 2006 a team from the Royal Malaysian Navy boarded SGT William R. Button as a contraband-smuggling scenario played out during exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism. The scenario focused on naval forces' abilities to locate, track and board suspect vessels, and serves as a platform to share ideas and techniques. About 30 nautical miles off the Malaysian coast in the Strait of Malacca, Royal Malaysian Navy surface ships and patrol aircraft tracked Button, passing along her location to the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Kasturi (FSGH-25), Button played the role of a ship that had been identified as possibly carrying contraband.

SGT William R. Button- Malaysian boarding-24May2006-060524-N-3392B-008
People designated as ship's crew members are isolated for questioning by sailors from the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate Kasturi, during a simulated boarding of SGT William R. Button, 24 May 2006. (Edward Baxter, U.S. Navy Photograph 060524-N-3392B-008, Photos).

From 19-23 October 2015 marines assigned to 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, worked with Spanish nationals at Naval Station Rota, Spain to unload gear and vehicles from Sgt. William R. Button and stage them for a training scenario, which entailed a road march from Rota to Alvarez de Sotomayor to perform field operations with the British Royal Marines as part of the NATO-led multinational exercise Trident Juncture 2015,  the largest NATO exercise to be conducted in the 20 years.

SGT William R. Button-at Rota-19Oct2015-151019-M-PK171-568
SGT William R. Button is moored at Naval Station Rota, 18 October 2015. (Lt. Sonny Lorrius, U.S. Navy Photograph 151018-N-EC444-118, Photos).
SGT William R. Button-moored at Rota-18Oct2015-151018-N-EC444-118
SGT William R. Button at Naval Air Base Rota, Spain, to offload equipment to support Exercise Trident Juncture 15, 19 October 2015. (Master Sgt. Chad McMeen, U.S. Marine Corps Photograph 151019-M-PK171-568, Photos).

Detailed history pending.

Christopher B. Havern Sr.

15 December 2015

Published: Thu Feb 25 10:28:40 EST 2016