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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Naval Reserve

Johnnie David Hutchins

  • Rank: Seaman First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S.S. Landing Ship Tank LST-473
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Naval Reserve
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: September 4, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Lae, New Guinea
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 pilothouse, 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.
Medal of Honor Recipient Johnnie D. Hutchins
Medal of Honor Recipient Johnnie D. Hutchins
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Texas
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: September 1944
    Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas, presented by Rear Adm. A.C. Bennett to his Mother
  • Born: August 4, 1922, Weimer, Colorado County, TX, United States
  • Died: September 4, 1943, Lae, New Guinea
  • Buried: Lakeside Cemetery (MH), Eagle Lake, TX, United States
  • Location of Medal: National WWII Museum, New Orleans, LA ; Wharton County Museum, Wharton, TX

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