Monday, May 18, 2009

Vietnam Vet Killed in Action in Iraq

As you all know by now, I'm a Vietnam veteran who served as a soldier in Iraq. When I learned about the following warrior's sacrifice, it was further evidence that some Americans believe their duty to defend this nation is not diminished by age. Sometimes that's a hard thing to explain to your friends and family members.

But, as the old saying goes, "If I have to explain it to you, you wouldn't understand anyway."

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60-year-old is oldest Army soldier killed in Iraq

By Amanda Lee Myers, Associated Press Writer Thu May 14, 7:28 pm ET

PHOENIX – A 60-year-old Vietnam War veteran killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq has become the oldest Army soldier to die in that conflict, the military said Thursday.

Maj. Steven Hutchison, of Scottsdale, Ariz., served in Vietnam and wanted to re-enlist immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks, but that his wife was against it, his brother said.

Richard Hutchison told The Associated Press on Thursday that when she died, "a part of him died" so he signed up in July 2007.

"He was very devoted to the service and to his country," Richard Hutchison said.

He described him as a great big brother and friend. "I didn't want him to go," he said through tears, adding that he loved his brother "so much."

The Pentagon said Steven Hutchison was killed in Iraq on Sunday. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Nathan Banks said Thursday that Hutchison was the oldest Army soldier killed in Iraq.

An Associated Press database of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that Hutchison is the oldest member of any service branch killed since the wars broke out.

Hutchison served in Afghanistan for a year before deploying to Iraq in October, heading a 12-soldier team that trained the Iraqi military, his brother said. Later, he was assigned to help secure Iraq's southern border.

Hutchinson, who grew up in California, taught psychology at two state colleges then worked at a health care corporation in Arizona before retiring and re-entering the service, his brother said.

He was part of the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.

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Our condolences go out to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Major Hutchinson.

Please remember his sacrifice, but also remember that he was a warrior volunteer who willingly put himself in harm's way to protect all Americans.

God bless him for his courage and for his ability to stand up for what is right.

Charles M. Grist

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