Specialist Hutchinson had only been in Afghanistan for a few days in May of 2008 when a convoy he was in was ambushed by enemy insurgents. During an intense firefight, Hutchison, in a turret atop a Humvee, was able to destroy an enemy machine gun nest.
“They had several machine guns. They shot several rockets at the trucks. Fortunately the missed the first couple of times they shot the rockets at the truck, but eventually they struck our truck with two rockets at the same time.”
Hutchinson was thrown into the back seat and blacked-out briefly.
“I landed in the First Sergeant’s lap, who was in the passenger’s seat in the back of the truck and when I looked up he was covered in blood basically from his forehead down. He had been struck by shrapnel in the side of his face and his side and his arms. Since I couldn’t get back up in the turret, I started to render first aid to him.”
He was airlifted to an army base where surgeons removed shrapnel from Hutchinson’s leg. He was later transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for additional surgeries. He received the Silver Star award, the Army’s third highest honor for valor, last year and now speaks with young soldiers about the importance of training.
“It’s one thing to have a colonel or general stand up there and tell you the training works and if you don’t take it to heart it’s not going to do you any good, but when you have a 22-year-old specialist who’s up there and has been there and received the award I have, it sinks in for the lower enlisted.”
Hutchinson will be publicly honored at halftime of the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Saturday.