Bottcher, Colonel David William Retired U.S. Army Colonel David William Bottcher, 51, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, passed away Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at Midtown Medical Center in Columbus, Georgia, after a brief illness. The family welcomed guests for visitation on Thursday, February 16, 2017 from 17:00 until 20:00 in Edgewood Hall of Striffler-Hamby, 4071 Macon Road, Columbus, Georgia. COL Bottcher's life will be celebrated, with full military honors, on Friday, February 17, 2017, 13:00 at Main Post Chapel, Fort Benning, Georgia. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. COL Bottcher was born on July 18, 1965, in Elmira, New York to parents James F. Bottcher, Jr. and Georgia Crissy. He graduated from Elmira Free Academy and, having excelled in the sport of wrestling from a young age, earned many accolades as a heavyweight during his college years, including NYS Heavyweight Champ, Eastern Heavyweight Champ and NCAA Qualifier. He wrestled for both Drexel University and The United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating from West Point in 1990, he was commissioned as an Infantry second lieutenant in the United States Army, marking the start of an Army career that would span over two and a half decades. During his distinguished career, COL Bottcher, served in command and staff positions leading Soldiers at every level. His assignments took both him and his family to numerous locations: Ft Drum, NY; Dongducheon, South Korea; Ft Irwin, CA; Ft Benning, GA; Ft Leavenworth, KS; Ft Campbell, KY; Colorado Springs, CO; and Stuttgart, Germany. COL Bottcher was a proven combat leader who led Soldiers in hostile fire zones such as: Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Equally as important, COL Bottcher dedicated many years of his career to the training and education of Soldiers. His dedication to his profession and leadership were always on display during multiple assignments ranging from his days as an Observer Controller at the National Training Center, to command of the 1-11th Infantry Battalion, where he was responsible for the initial entry training of over 7,200 newly commissioned lieutenants. His influence and positive impact are still felt today. For his final assignment, COL Bottcher and his family moved to Stuttgart, Germany, where he was selected to lead US Africa Command's efforts to plan, coordinate and implement the US-led, effort to train the Libyan Army. He served for two years as the AFRICOM J35, Future Operations/Counterterrorism Division Chief, before retiring in late 2016, with 26 years of faithful service to the nation. COL Bottcher was passionate about serving his country and caring for Soldiers and their families, and was deeply loved and respected by all who knew him. He enjoyed many outdoor sports including bow hunting, boating, snow skiing and golf, but especially loved spending time with his family and friends and riding his Harley. During his time in Germany David came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior. In a recent text he sent to his wife, Donna, he stated that "We are all bad/rotten until we commit our lives to the Lord and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. I love you, but even more so, I love the Lord. I am excited to see what He has in store for us. One thing that will be constant is you by my side and the Lord in my heart." Along with his parents, those left to cherish COL Bottcher's memory are: his loving wife, Donna (Austin) Bottcher, and his adoring daughter, Sydney Bottcher, both of Gulf Breeze, FL; brothers, Jim Bottcher and Alex Bottcher, of Elmira, NY; sisters, Kathryn (Brian) Matthews of Tucson, AZ and Meg (Steve) McManus of Baltimore, MD; aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, other family members, as well as a multitude of friends and colleagues. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Wounded Warrior Project or The National Infantry Foundation. Those wishing to sign the online guest book may do so at www.shcolumbus.com .
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