U.S. Navy Recruiting

Butte, Montana


Our Lady of the Rockies and view of Butte, Montana


Eighth Navy Recruiting Area Command Headquarters is located at U. S. Naval Station, Treasurer Island, San Francisco, California and is composed of Eight Western states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. The mission of this command is to obtain men and women who meet the mental, moral, physical, and other specific standards prescribed in sufficient numbers to meet the officer and enlisted personnel requirements of the regular and reserve components of the United States Navy. This mission is accomplished through enlistment and appointment of qualified applicants for the various officer and enlisted programs. Officer and enlisted personnel requirements are assigned by the Chief of Naval Personnel (Pers-B6).

Seattle, Washington is the Recruiting District Headquarters for the states of Washington, Northern Idaho, and Montana.

Navy Recruiting SubStation, Butte, Montana is responsible for nine Navy Recruiting Branch Stations located at: Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula.

Source: Naval Historical Center, Washington, DC
Note: During 1971 with the disestablishment of the Seventeenth Naval District, recruiting responsibility for Alaska was transferred to Seattle, Washington.


The first Navy recruiter was a part of the Marine Committee established in 1775 during the Revolutionary War. Soon thereafter, however, the Secretary of the Navy assumed direct responsibility for recruiting. This task was later delegated to the Bureau of Construction and Repair and then to the Bureau of Navigation before the function was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) in 1942.

For the next 29 years (1942-1971), the Chief of Naval Personnel retained the direct responsibility for recruiting. On April 6, 1971, the Secretary of the Navy, in response to the challenges of the forthcoming end of the draft and the increased emphasis on Navy recruiting, approved the establishment of the Navy Recruiting Command as a field activity of the Chief of Naval Personnel. The last draft calls were made in December 1972.

The One-Navy recruiting concept was adopted in April 1973; thus, the Navy Recruiting Command recruits for all active duty programs, regular and reserve, officer and enlisted, with the exception of the Sea and Air Mariner Program and the Naval Academy. With the increased sophistication of Navy surface ships, submarines and aircraft has come the requirement to recruit more technically trained, highly motivated individuals with aptitude to succeed in the unique Navy environment. Consequently, the Navy has raised its quality standards and selectivity criteria to provide fleet units with the best potential individuals.

Source: Navy Recruiting Command, Millington, TN

History of Butte, Montana

Butte, Montana is often referred to as "The Richest Hill on Earth" and "Ireland's Fifth Providence." Butte was once a huge mining camp, and the largest city west of the Mississippi. Today a 90 foot tall steel statute (Our Lady of the Rockies) sits at 8510 feet on the top of the continental divide looking over the city of Butte.

The First authentic record of white men visiting the spot where Butte, Montana now stands was in 1856. Judge C.E. Irvine and party from Walla Walla Washington Territory stopped on a tour of exploration. They found an ancient prospect hole, four or five feet deep. Scattered about the edge of the hole were decayed and weather-beaten prongs of elk horns sharpened for use as picks.

The Discovery of gold on Butte Hill was made in July 1864 by G.O. Humphrey and William Allison. 100s flocked to the area on the hearing of the news of the discovery, a camp arose, one where a man wasn't safe without a bowie knife or a revolver and saloons were the pride of the trade.

But all good things must come to an end and the placers gradually worked their way out and by 1874, the population of the camp dwindle to a handful. But there was one metal that would make Butte strong, that metal being copper. The ore was discovered in great amounts in the Butte Hills and its discovery would result in the greatest mining camp on earth. This metal would create kings, Copper Kings.

To the curious visitor, Butte, Montana may seem somewhat exotic and out of place, an industrial city past its prime with the remnants of the nation's first skyscrapers in the middle of the agricultural state of Montana. It's not possible to understand Butte without first looking to Ireland.

Today, the descendants of Sullivans, Shannons, Harringtons, O'Neills Lynchs, Sheas, Driscolls, Dolans, Duggans, and O'Briens still inhabit this island city built on a hill surrounded by a sea of mountains, rivers, and prairie under the big sky of Montana.

Marcus Daly, bright, ambitious, young Irish immigrant, was brought in from Nevada to Butte as manager of the Alice Silver mine. Daly was on the lookout for new ventures. He became a partner of Michael Hickey (an ex solider of the union army and whose property which was discovered in 1882 named The Anaconda after an editorial by Horace Greely in the New York Tribune and which would become the name of the sole owner of the mines, The Anaconda Copper Mining Company, in later years) and pushed development work. Soon he and other backers bought Hickey's share in the Anaconda.

At the three hundred foot level, good luck in the guise of tragedy struck Daly. Instead of silver, he found ore, predominantly copper. Daly's backers were disappointed. In the time of the discovery, gold and silver were the metals considered anything worth a gamble. Also, the camp had no facilities for treating the copper ore and no one knew if the body was large enough to warrant an investment in equipment for smelting copper.

Daly himself was optimistic. The mining engineers were skeptical, but the unschooled Irishman proved them all wrong. Neighboring properties were bought up, thousands of men probed their way through the earth to ore bearing veins, including copper as well as gold and silver. The surface of the hill became scarred by the waste dumps, piles of black slag and gray green tailings. Practically overnight, Butte mushroomed. Fortunes were made and spent in a day. Armies of miners moved into the camp. Day and night shifts were employed and smelters were erected to belch forth of greenish, stifling smoke.

Here, Marcus Daly, born in 1841 and raised near Ballyjamesduff in County Cavan, Ireland, found in mining Butte's hill for silver and gold that another metal, copper, was far more abundant. He convinced his reluctant backers of the potential wealth below the ground in the red ore in Butte and his persistence paid off when he drilled deep enough to discover a massive vein of copper 50 feet wide that flowed like a river through the middle of his Anaconda mine.

Daly soon found himself an owner of one of the largest copper mines in the world just as the global demand for copper boomed. It was not long before Daly found himself one of the wealthiest men in the West. In the years that followed, he built one of the world's largest ore smelters with a stack that was once the tallest in the world. It remains intact today near Anaconda, the town that Daly founded to be home to the Irish and others he brought from around the world to refine and process his ore.

His interests drove the fortunes of the state of Montana, prodding ventures in timber, newspapers, coal mines, railroads, and agriculture. He built a lavish mansion in the Bitterroot Valley across the mountains and away from the industrial chaos in Butte. When he died in 1900 at the Hotel Netherlands in New York City, among those at his bedside was Father Lavelle, the rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

In all of Daly's endeavors, his preference to hire fellow Irish became widely known. Despite the bitterly cold winters and the location's remoteness, there were jobs waiting for the able and the ambitious and they heeded Daly's call.

When they arrived, they found that Butte had as much in common with West Ireland as did the moon. Butte is situated high in the Northern Rockies beside the Continental Divide, 600 miles from the coast, frozen in winter by sub-zero temperatures and Arctic winds, and baked in summer by withering heat with little rain. It was a hard life in a hard land. But, they found one distinct similarity -- the people they knew back home. Butte was fast filling with relatives from the Beara Peninsula and they made their homes in neighborhoods close to the mines named Corktown and Dublin Gulch.

The frigid weather of Butte was balmy compared to the chilly welcome of the established societies in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans. Butte presented a rare opportunity, a place to start new where work could be easily had at decent wages, too. And the Irish, among the first to arrive, would shape the city's destiny. Many of the new immigrants to Butte had been wandering the country and the world since leaving Ireland and they wasted no time in making the place their own. They would be followed by other immigrants drawn by the promise of work into a patchwork of every conceivable nationality but the Irish came early and they were well settled in strong communities.

How important Irish roots became in Butte is illustrated by the story of an Arab rug merchant named Mohammed Akara who changed his last name in court to Murphy "for business reasons."

The Irish came to Butte by way of Nevada's Comstock Lode, the coalfields of Pennsylvania, and the copper mines of Michigan. Soon, they came directly from Ireland by way of Canada and New York and Boston. As working Irish called for relatives to join them in the prosperity of Butte's mines, Anaconda's smelter, and the many businesses that supported them, many arrived with the admonition, "Don't bother to tarry in America, go straight to Butte."

Most of Butte's Irish came directly or indirectly from West Ireland, predominately County Cork, but in large numbers from Mayo and Donegal as well.

According to David Emmons in his book, The Butte Irish, by 1900 Butte had 12,000 residents of Irish descent in a population of 47,635. A quarter of the population was Irish, a higher percentage than any other American city at the turn of the last century, including Boston.

Of 1,700 people who left the parish of Eyeries in County Cork to emigrate to America from 1870 to 1915, 1,138 ended up in Butte. Members of 77 different families of Sullivans left Castletownbere in Cork for Butte, which explains why in 1908 there were 1,200 Sullivans in Butte.

From the 1880s on, the Irish were represented in every level of Butte's society. The Irish worked as miners and shift bosses, boilermakers and hoist engineers, but they also filled the ranks of judges, doctors, priests, firemen, policemen, lawyers, newspaper reporters, and editors.

In Butte, absurdly abundant mineral wealth developed and controlled by Irish immigrants allowed those who came from all directions to express that longing for home. In the process, they turned a desolate, inhospitable crest beside the Continental Divide into an industrial metropolis that grew into a city of nearly 100,000 souls.

It wasn't until the 1950s that the Anaconda Copper Company moved away from labor-intensive underground mining. It began open pit mining, creating the largest landmark and legacy of Butte's mining days: the Berkeley Pit. To make room for open pit mining, the Company bought and leveled whole neighborhoods -- hundreds of homes and stores that once made up Butte's east-side.

In the 1982, mining ceased in the pit. Today the pit is over a mile long, nearly a mile wide and 1800 feet deep. It is filling up with acidic water. The Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), which bought the Anaconda Copper Company's holdings in Butte in the 1970s, is responsible to ensure that the pit's polluted waters don't spill over into the nearby Clark Fork River. It is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state agencies to figure out how best to handle the potential disaster.

Back in 1912, Butte dedicated its new courthouse. The price tag: a whopping $482,000, nearly double the cost of the Capitol building in Helena. The grand structure contained huge copper doors, wide front steps and murals. It indicates the course Butte planned for its future: more immigrants, more mining, more opulence. Today, Butte has just over 30,000 residents, a far cry from its 1917 population.

Still, it celebrates its rich history and invites tourists to take a taste of it. The World Museum of Mining and 1899 Mining Camp, which sits on 12 acres, was built by local volunteers and has artifacts from mining. It is surrounded by an abandoned mine. The Copper King Mansion, which is also downtown, is on the national historic register. It was owned by a copper baron, William Clark, who was a self-made millionaire. It cost him over a quarter of a million dollars to build in the 1880s. Although it is still privately owned, it is open for tours and is also a bed and breakfast. The Berkeley Pit has a viewing stand for tourists. The Dumas, was built in 1890 as "parlor house" (read: brothel). It operated right up to 1982; today, it is open to tourists.

Butte is changing these days, like the rest of Montana, and like the rest of the world but the influence of Ireland permeates Butte's past and present and colors its future as well. The Irish who built Butte, Montana all shared a longing for a homeland that should have been. The difference from other places in the world was that Irish were allowed to create a city from their dreams of the Ireland they remembered about 5,000 miles from Ireland's shores.

Source: History of Butte, Montana was used from the following sources:
Butte, Montana: Ireland's Fifth Providence
Butte, Montana: A Mile High - A Mile Deep
Butte Chamber of Commerce

Another informative and interesting site is CopperCity.Com. Be sure to check " A Century of Butte Stories" by John Astle. The Astle's were our next door neighbors while we were stationed in Butte.

Additional Information:

General Omah N. Bradley - Instead of being sent to France to command troops in battle during World War I, Captain Bradley was assigned to Butte. Labor unrest and the threat of sabotage had resulted in the stationing of federal troops in Butte and throughout Montana wherever strategic metals were mined or refined. He arrived in Butte by train with Company F on January 26, 1918, it was 40 degrees below zero. He established a barracks for his five officers and 86 men at the School of Mines campus on a bench on the west edge of Butte overlooking the city's mines.

Of course, more than 25 years later, General Omar N. Bradley oversaw quite a bit of combat in World War II as he helped plan and execute the Allied invasion of Europe and the defeat of Germany.

During his career, Bradley earned a reputation as being one of the best infantry commanders in WWII. He commanded the 82d and 28th Infantry Divisions before going on to command the 1st Army and the 12th Army Group. After the war he served as Chief of Staff of the US Army from 1948-1949 and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1949-1953 while holding the rank of General of the Army (five stars).

Source: George Everett's ButteAmerica.com

Evel Knievel - Motorcycle daredevil, Robert Craig Knievel, was born in the wide-open copper mining town of Butte, Montana on October 17, 1938 and was raised by his grandparents. At age eight he saw Joey Chitwood's Auto Daredevil Show which he credits for his later career choice to become a motorcycle daredevil.

Outstanding in track and field, ski jumping and ice hockey at Butte High School he went on to win the Northern Rocky Mountain Ski Association Class A Men's ski jumping championship in 1957 and to play with the Charlotte Clippers of the Eastern Hockey League in 1959. He then formed the Butte Bombers semiprofessional hockey team, acting as owner, manager, coach and player.

He worked in the copper mines as a contract miner, skip tender and diamond drill operator. After a stint in the US Army where he pole vaulted and ran the 220 on the Army track team, he ran his own hunting guide service in Montana.

In 1965 he began his daredevil career when he formed a troupe called Evel Knievel's Motorcycle Daredevils. In 1966 he began touring alone, barnstorming the Western states. Evel did everything himself, including truck driving, ramp erecting, promoting and performing his ever longer and more dangerous motorcycle jumps.

International media attention to Evel's heroic, death-defying feats and his popular messages to the world's youth, promoting abstention from drugs and a healthy lifestyle with a positive mental attitude quickly transformed him into a National Icon. He became America's Legendary Daredevil.

Source: Evel's biography