*HUTCHINS, JOHNNIE DAVID
Rank and organization: Seaman First Class,
U.S. Naval Reserve. Born: 4 August 1922, Weimer, Tex. Accredited to: Texas.
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 pilot house, 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.