Flythe, retired from USCG, continues service to others


By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bringing joy to others through his music, Butch Flythe strums his guitar and creates smiles.

“It is a ministry to me,” said Flythe. “I get blessings from it.”

Flythe, a worship leader at Camden United Methodist Church, organized a group of five people in his church to create music before the Sunday worship service. “The Strummers” includes guitar, bass, fiddle and ukulele players.

In addition to their performances at the church, Flythe said The Strummers play at The Benjamin House and Needham Adult Care Home once a month.

“I’ve been playing since I was 14 on and off. I taught myself,” said Flythe.

Flythe helps his wife, Beth, who manages the food pantry at Camden United Methodist Church. He likes to swim at the Albemarle Family YMCA and the Outer Banks, camp, fish and plays his guitar. Always a fan of aviation, Flythe earned his private pilot’s license.

Flythe served 25 years in the U.S. Coast Guard and retired as a master chief rescue swimmer. He is currently a data analyst at the Aviation Logistics Center.

“I liked the fact that we would always have a mission,” said Flythe, describing his decision to join the U.S. Coast Guard. “We were always working.”

Flythe was one of the first five rescue swimmers to implement the aviation survival technician program at the base in Elizabeth City in 1985. He later served as an instructor and school chief. Before the school was in operation, Flythe said rescue swimmers entered the program through the Navy.

He said he was contacted by the filmmakers of “The Guardian,” a 2006 movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner with a plot focused on Coast Guard rescue swimmers. Flythe said he helped with a boot camp to train actors in the film who would be portraying Coast Guard swimmers. Flythe also appeared in the movie.

Originally from Ahoskie, Flythe enjoyed accompanying his father to his law office as a young boy. He said one of his fondest memories occurred when he met his father’s client, Jimmy “Catfish” Hunter.

Flythe lives in Camden and enjoys spending time with Beth, and their children, Tabitha and Jesse.