Specialist David Hutchinson received his Silver Star on the parade grounds at Texas A&M University. His decisions and actions saved a lot of soldiers.
Soldier to Receive Silver Star for Valor Under Fire
416th Engineering Command
Story by Capt. Corey Schultz
Posted: 06.06.2009 07:21
On June 6, the 65th anniversary of D-Day, Spc. David Hutchinson will become only the fifth Army Reserve Soldier to receive the Silver Star. While deployed to Afghanistan with the 420th Engineering Brigade, Hutchinson attacked and destroyed an enemy machine gun nest, an act of valor that was instrumental in saving the lives of 16 fellow Soldiers.
On the morning of May 21, 2008, 17 Army Reserve Soldiers of the 420th Engineer Brigade Personal Security Detail were traveling through the mountains of Afghanistan in a convoy of four Humvees. Hutchinson rode in the third Humvee, manning a MK-19 40 mm grenade launcher.
About 20 enemy insurgents attacked in a coordinated ambush from fortified fighting positions no more than 70 meters away. They fired multiple RPGs immediately followed by small arms: AK-47s, AK-74s, sniper rifles – and a PKM machine gun.
The enemy boldly attempted to destroy the convoy with RPGs, even moving from cover to engage the convoy. The 420th Eng. Bde. Soldiers immediately returned fire.
The enemy had fire superiority – until Hutchinson engaged the machine gun nest with devastating firepower, destroying it. Hutchinson’s fire was so effective in disrupting the enemy’s efforts that the enemy concentrated their attack on him and his MK-19.
Hutchinson held his position under intense fire, continuing to place fire on the remaining enemy in total disregard of his own peril. Other Soldiers later counted over 100 bullet holes in the turret of his Humvee.
Hutchinson expended an entire ammo can, destroying the machine gun position and killing five enemy before he was seriously wounded by fire from a RPG. Shrapnel hit his right leg and caused him to collapse into the crew compartment.
Even after collapsing from his wounds, Hutchinson saw that his first sergeant was severely injured, with gaping shrapnel wounds to the face and head. Despite his own serious wounds, Hutchinson calmly administered first aid to the other Soldier, controlling the bleeding as the convoy moved out of the kill zone.
When the medevac arrived, Hutchinson refused to be carried out and despite his serious wounds insisted the single litter be used for the first sergeant. This freed other Soldiers to provide security and reduced the time the medevac spent on the ground.
Hutchinson’s actions were without a doubt the primary disruptor of the enemy. His actions contributed to the safety of 17 Soldiers and showed extraordinary courage, loyalty and selfless service under fire.
Hutchinson was born in Humble, Texas, and graduated Brenham High School in 2005. He enlisted in the Army Reserve in December 2005 and is currently assigned to the 420th Engineer Brigade. In his civilian occupation he works for AT&T as a retail sales associate. In addition to the Silver Star, Hutchison has been awarded the Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism and Combat Action Badge.
The Silver Star is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for the Distinguished Service Cross, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction