Soldier Honored for Valor, Recalls Ambush
(July 15, 2009)
Army Spc. David Hutchinson receives the Silver Star medal
from Army Col. James Doty on the campus of Texas A&M University in College
Station, Texas, June 6, 2009. Hutchinson earned the award for valor during and
following an ambush in Afghanistan on May 21, 2008. U.S. Army photo
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2009
The fifth Army Reserve soldier to earn the
Silver Star since the terrorist attacks on the United States
in 2001 spoke about his experience in a “DoDLive” bloggers
roundtable July 6.
Army Spc. David Hutchinson of the 420th Engineer Brigade
discussed the actions that earned him the third-highest
award for valor in combat.
On May 21, 2008, Hutchinson said he and his fellow soldiers
from the 420th Engineer Brigade were en route to Sharana,
Afghanistan, in preparation for relieving the 36th Engineer
Brigade when they were ambushed. “About the time all four
trucks got into the mountain pass, that's when we came under
fire,” he said.
After the first truck returned fire using a .50-caliber
machine gun, Hutchinson said, he saw 20 to 30 more
insurgents on a ridge to the convoy's right.
“I started opening fire with my Mk-19
[grenade launcher], and I made it through ... about 44 of the
48 rounds in that ammo can, destroying as many fighting
positions as I could,” Hutchinson said. “As quickly as I
could destroy one, more insurgents would pop up.” |
As the convoy fired back, the insurgents began firing
“I counted no more than four RPGs that actually missed our
truck within 10 or 15 feet,” he said. “Then as soon as I
slowed down to stop firing, as there was so much dust in
front of me from all the explosions, our truck was struck by
The impact knocked Hutchinson from his turret into the
“I went to get back up into the turret, but I couldn't feel
from my waist down,” he said. “So I rolled over to see if
everyone else was all right. That's when I saw the first
sergeant in the driver's side rear seat was bleeding pretty
heavily from his face, and then his side.”
Instead of administering first aid to himself, Hutchinson
tried to help the first sergeant.
“I wasn't in any pain at that point, so I went ahead and
started using my compression bandage and his compression
bandage to try and control as much of the bleeding as
possible,” he said.
A few moments later, the convoy left the ambush area. When
the soldiers arrived at the medical evacuation point several
miles down the road, Hutchinson again showed his
selflessness. “They had me on the litter at first, but I
jumped off the litter and told them to put the first
sergeant on the litter,” he said.
Because of Hutchinson's courageous acts, all of the 17 men
in the convoy survived the ambush.
Hutchinson was airlifted to his forward operating base,
where he had the first surgery to remove shrapnel from his
leg. “From my hip down, the whole right side of my leg was
peppered with shrapnel,” he recalled.
After multiple surgeries and months of recuperation,
Hutchinson still can't run full-speed, but he is able to
walk without problems. “I'm slowly getting back to my full
capacity, as far as physical things go,” he said.
Hutchinson will be married this month and will continue to
serve in the 420th Engineer Brigade. He is likely to return
to Afghanistan, if needed, in two years, he said.
Hutchinson received his Silver Star on June 6 from Army Col.
James Doty, his brigade commander, on the campus of Texas
A&M University in College Station, Texas.
By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Selby|
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
American Forces Press Service
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