US Air Force

James "Butch" Rials

November 2, 1950 ~ September 22, 2023 (age 72) 72 Years Old

James "Butch" Rials Obituary

James "Butch" Rials, 72, passed away on September 22, 2023 in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He was born on November 2, 1950 in New Orleans, Louisiana to James Sr. and Bernice Rials. 

Butch graduated from Holy Cross High School in New Orleans and Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA and received his officer's commission in 1972.  From there he went on to USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training and received his pilot wings in December 1973.  Butch first came to Alamogordo when he was assigned to Holloman AFB as an instructor pilot in 1977.  After several more assignments he returned to Holloman in 1989 on his retirement tour.  Butch's first fighter was the F-4 Phantom II and then heserved as instructor pilot in the AT-38 Talon and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft spanning over 15 years.  Shortly after his Air Force retirement in 1992, Butch became a civilian contract pilot instructor at Holloman instructing pilots in the F-117 Stealth Fighter and the MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Vehicle.  In this capacity, Butch was employed by CAE, Hughes Training, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, CBD Training, CTI and CAEUSA.  As Butch liked to put it, "I've completed a second 20 year career with the Air Force" and "This contract instructing is a great gig."  

Butch was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Samantha in 1999 and grandson, Brandel Stewart in 2008. 

Butch is survived by his daughter, Rachel Rials of Alamogordo, NM; stepson, Zachary K Gieger of Massachusetts; granddaughter, Audree (Landon) Victor of Roswell and grandson Michael Stewart of Hobbs, NM; dear friends, coworkers and members of Otero Practical Shooting Association.

Butch truly loved training American and allied war fighters.  During his career, in addition to US military personnel, he trained pilots from Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, Iran and Morocco.  Butch was also an avid shooter and took pride in being a member of Otero Practical Shooting Association where he served as president, vice-president and discipline coordinator at various times.  Butch was also a New Mexico certified concealed carry handgun instructor.

In his parting, Butch salutes the military members, tells his coworkers, "Don't let courseware get you down" and to Otero Practical Shooting Association, "Shooter's finished, I've unloaded, shown clear, hammer's down and holstered."

The memorial service for James Rials will be held at Scenic Chapel on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 1:00 PM with reception at 2 PM.

Burial will follow at Ft Bliss National Cemetery.

The Rials family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Scenic Chapel to direct the services.  To sign the online register book, please visit

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Memorial Service
September 30, 2023

1:00 PM
Alamogordo New Mexico, Scenic Chapel


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