b. 04/08/1922 Weimar, Texas. d. 04/09/1943 Lae, New Guinea.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 04/09/1943 Lae, New Guinea.
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served as a Seaman First Class, US Navy on board a landing ship tanker, the USS LST-473. During a landing assault at Lae, New Guinea, on September 4, 1943, his vessel was under enemy fire from shore batteries and aerial bombardment when a torpedo bore down on the ship. The helmsman was dislodged by a bomb blast and Seaman Hutchins was mortally wounded. Fully aware of the dire situation, he grasped the wheel and with his last strength maneuvered the vessel clear of the advancing torpedo. He died of his injuries still clinging to the wheel. For extreme gallantry, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and the destroyer escort ship, the USS Johnnie Hutchins, was launched in May 1944.
For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous valor above and beyond the call of duty while serving on board a Landing Ship, Tank, during the assault on Lae, New Guinea, 4 September 1943. As the ship on which Hutchins was stationed approached the enemy-occupied beach under a veritable hail of fire from Japanese shore batteries and aerial bombardment, a hostile torpedo pierced the surf and bore down upon the vessel with deadly accuracy. In the tense split seconds before the helmsman could steer clear of the threatening missile, a bomb struck the pilot house, dislodged him from his station, and left the stricken ship helplessly exposed. Fully aware of the dire peril of the situation, Hutchins, although mortally wounded by the shattering explosion, quickly grasped the wheel and exhausted the last of his strength in maneuvering the vessel clear of the advancing torpedo. Still clinging to the helm, he eventually succumbed to his injuries, his final thoughts concerned only with the safety of his ship, his final efforts expended toward the security of his mission. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
BURIAL LOCATION: LAKESIDE CEMETERY, EAGLE LAKE, TEXAS.
Last row, center, against fence
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