Running for the Killeen’s top-elected post are two local businessmen and a retired lieutenant colonel.
Harold “Hal” Butchart, who is running on the platform of being the only “professional soldier” in the race, said he believes his service gives him an edge over his opponents.
“The reason Killeen is here is because of the Army,” he said. “Being a veteran is an advantage because, unlike my opponents, it simply says that I’ve served my nation.”
Butchart, who has been outspoken about his military service since his campaign began, shared his Army experiences with the Herald, and provided a Defense Department Form 214, an official form all veterans receive upon leaving the military.
Butchart’s service in the Army and Army Reserve spans more than three decades, and is an unusual one, as far as Army careers go. He was commissioned an officer in 1972. From 1974 to 1979, he was stationed in Germany with the Army’s Criminal Investigations Division, according to Butchart.
Following his tenure in Germany, Butchart got out of the Army and worked for the San Diego Police Department from 1979 to 1980 until joining the National Guard in 1980, where he worked as a full-time guardsman until 1993.
In 1993, Butchart went back into the regular Army as part of the 89th Military Police Brigade at Fort Hood, where he remained until 1997. Butchart was in the Army Reserve from 1997 to 2000, when he retired.
In 2006, he was recalled by the Army Reserve and deployed to Djibouti, Africa, Kuwait and then Iraq. In 2007, Butchart fully retired from the Army and was honorably released from active duty as a lieutenant colonel, according to his DD Form 214.
Butchart said his experience in the Army has given him the ability to see how different governmental operations work.
“Instead of being a home-boy, someone who has never left Killeen, I have served all over the world,” he said. “I have served in a multitude of cultures in different situations. I have developed great flexibility to deal with situations as they change, whether it’s in battle or in politics.”
Fellow mayoral candidate Scott Cosper, a former councilman and local business owner, said he’s worked in various capacities with veterans and service members and doesn’t see himself at a disadvantage.
“I certainly appreciate all veterans who have served our country,” he said. “I have had the honor of growing up with soldiers and veterans in school, in church and professionally. I have relationships with many retired and active-duty soldiers, both enlisted and officers.”
Cosper said the work he has done with various organizations that support the Army leave him “very qualified” to serve the city in a mayoral capacity.
Cosper has been a corporate member of the Association of the United States Army since 1998 and has served on its board of governors since 2002. He also serves on the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance.
Mayoral candidate Richard “Dick” Young, a former councilman and local business owner, said he’s no stranger to the military, having grown up as an “Army brat” with his father serving 24 years as a career soldier.
Young said he planned to join the military but an injury derailed his plans.
“I was raised in a military family and I know not only what the military is up against, but what their families are up against,” he said. “I moved with my family, so I know what it’s like to be uprooted, and fortunately we were able, during my lifetime, to build a family in Killeen.”
Young said he believes military families “serve just as much” as do soldiers.
“My daughter is married to a (sergeant first class). I want people to know that my heart is truly in the right place. I want the same things for anyone else’s child that I would want for my own.”
Young said he doesn’t see himself as being disadvantaged in the race, but as having a “leg up.”
“I believe that the experience that I have with three terms on the City Council and being in positions of leadership and heading committees certainly gives me a leg up on the competition,” he said.
Early voting in the municipal election is April 28 through May 6. Election day is May 10.