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|48k||Johnnie David Hutchins was born in Weimer, Tex., 4 August 1922 and enlisted in the Naval Reserve at Houston 17 November 1942. He underwent landing craft training and in April 1943 was assigned to USS LST-473. During the assault on Lae, New Guinea, 4 September 1943, the LST's were under heavy air attack. As the ship approached the beach, a torpedo was spotted heading directly for it. Just then a bomb struck the pilot house, dislodging the helmsman before he had a chance to turn away. In the words of his posthumous citation: "... 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...." For his extraordinary gallantry Seaman First Class Hutchins was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.|
During WW II, the United States Navy awarded only 57 Medals of Honor. Johnnie’s Medal was presented to his mother at Sam Houston Coliseum in downtown Houston, on 15 September 1944, just a little over a year after Johnnie earned it. His mom, dad, five sisters and brother were all in attendance. Johnnie's body was buried outside Morobe Bay, New Guinea along with the bodies of 7 other crew members. After the war, his body was returned to the United States and he was buried in the family plot at Lakeside Cemetery in Eagle Lake, Texas.
USS Johnnie Hutchins (DE 360) (1944-1958) was the first ship to be named in his honor.
(Photo and biography from The USS LST-473 Association Web Site thanks to Mike Guarino)
|13k||undated||Robert K. Lamb
USS Johnnie Hutchins
1944 - 1946
|43k||early 1950's: New York Harbor||Carmen J. Costa|
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