Texas Tech University

Air Force Flight Commander seeks new heights at Texas Tech

Arianna Flores

November 15, 2023

Zarquis Butler is a  Security Forces Flight Commander in the United States Air Force studying Mass Communication at Texas Tech

When Zarquis Butler isn't leading troops in the Air Force, he is logged onto Blackboard, finalizing his last few classes to graduate. The 28-year-old Security Forces Flight Commander at the United States Air Force is currently pursuing his master's degree in Mass Communication expecting to graduate at the end of this year.  
Butler is currently finishing his final master's project at Texas Tech in Strategic Communication & Innovation. His final project centers around figuring out ways to promote mental health resources to those in the Air Force.  
“You always want to further and better yourself by seeking knowledge no matter what field it is,” Butler said. 

Butler has always lived by the motto “education is a forefront.” Before his studies at Texas Tech, Butler obtained an associate degree in Criminal Justice and then went on to pursue an undergraduate degree Applied Arts in Human Communication at the at the University of Central Florida.Zarquis Butler and Air Force troops

 The Jacksonville, Florida native has traveled across the globe with the Air Force and is currently finishing the remainder of his degree while being deployed overseas in Turkey. With almost nine years of Air Force experience, Butler has found a way to learn about the inner workings of communication both inside and outside of a classroom.  

On a typical day in the Air Force as a security forces flight commander, he sees hundreds of people utilizing the skills he has learned overall.

“We do a lot of law enforcement operations, whether that's local PD or on the base and in the law enforcement field, not only are you charged with protecting and serving your community, but you also deal with social work as well,” Butler explained. “So, obviously, the ultimate goal is preserving life, and a life situation can be resolved with just simple communication.”

One class Butler said he thoroughly enjoyed was Special Topics in Strategic Communication: Nonprofit, taught by Dr. Andrew Brown. This class allowed Butler to learn about an industry he has never worked in before. 

“It's just a topic that I've never done, and I wanted to see what it's like, with communications there are a lot of different things you can explore,” Butler said. “I just wanted to learn as much as I can when it comes to communication and then pass that information on to my troops.” 

Zarquis Butler and Air Force troops

The leader, father and graduate student reiterated the importance of gaining knowledge and  how he has learned many usable skills that translate to the real world, one of those skills being reading nonverbal cues.  

Butler said having the ability to read someone's nonverbal stature is important in his security-oriented field and understanding that mannerisms are just as important as what you say verbally.

Butler is on track to graduate in December 2023, currently finishing his final master's project. The project centers around how to promote mental health resources in the Air Force. 

Butler and Air Force members

The Texas Tech College of Media & Communication Graduate Program thanks Zarquis for his dedication to our country and for his service. Our program also acknowledges the sacrifice his family is making during this deployment.