On June 6, 2009, the 65th anniversary of D-Day, SPC David Hutchinson became only the fifth Army Reserve Soldier to receive the Silver Star. While deployed in Afghanistan, he was instrumental in saving the lives of 16 fellow Soldiers.
It was the morning of May 21, 2008; the weather was eighty-nine degrees with unlimited visibility.
The 420th Engineer Brigade Personal Security Detail unit consisted of 17 Army Reservists traveling in a four-vehicle convoy southeast on an ASR jeep headed towards Forward Operating Base Orgun-E.
Then-Private First Class David Hutchinson was serving as a MK19 gunner in the third gun truck when suddenly they were ambushed by determined Anti-Afghan Forces (AAF).
Approximately 15-20 AAF opened fire with an arsenal of rocket propelled grenades, PKM machine guns, and AK-47s. Hutchinson's unit was also being attacked by sniper rifles hidden in the surrounding Afghanistan mountains approximately 50 to 70 meters away.
The AAF fighters were bold in their efforts to destroy the convoy by attempting to disable the lead and trail gun trucks with RPGs.
Three of the four trucks immediately engaged in combat returning suppressive fire. Being the aggressors, the AAF moved from cover into the open to engage the gun trucks under devastating fire provided by Hutchinson and his fellow soldiers.
The AAF had fire superiority until Hutchinson quickly assessed the PKM machine gun nest on top of a hill. This position was most lethal to Hutchinson and his fellow soldiers in the convoy. His fire was so effective in disrupting the AAF's efforts to destroy the convoy that they began focusing their wrath specifically on him and his MK19.
Hutchinson stayed in his position under intense fire, placing accurate effective fire on the remaining enemies with total disregard for his own life.
Members of his unit later counted well over 100 bullet strikes on his turret.
Hutchinson expended an entire ammo can destroying a fixed machine gun position and killing no less than five enemy insurgents before he was seriously wounded by a RPG that entered the crew compartment of his M1151 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.
Shrapnel from the RPG hit his right leg and caused him to collapse from his gunner position into the crew compartment.
After collapsing from his wounds, Hutchinson observed that his First Sergeant was severely injured with gaping shrapnel wounds to the face and head. With total disregard for his own serious injuries and his right leg going numb, he calmly administered first aid to his First Sergeant. His actions controlled the bleeding as the convoy proceeded out of the engagement area.
When the MEDEVAC arrived, despite his own serious wounds, Hutchinson refused to be carried on a litter so that others could carry the wounded First Sergeant. This act freed other soldiers to provide security and reduced the time the MEDEVAC spent on the ground.
Hutchinson was medically evacuated out of Afghanistan with a serious leg injury after being in theater only a week.
His actions contributed to the safety of 16 soldiers and showed extraordinary courage, loyalty and selfless-service under fire beyond expectation.