Biography

Hutchin, Claire Elwood,  Jr. [LtCol CO 1stBn23rdIR]

  
23rdIR

Claire E. Hutchin, Jr.

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Claire Elwood Hutchin, Jr
Claire Elwood Hutchin, Jr..jpg
Born (1916-01-09)January 9, 1916
Washington, Illinois
Died June 22, 1980(1980-06-22) (aged 64)
Severna Park, Maryland
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1938-1973
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general
Commands held 123rd Infantry Regiment
4th Infantry Division
V-Corps, Frankfurt, Germany
First United States Army
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Cold War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross (2)
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (5)
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart (2)

Claire Elwood Hutchin, Jr. (January 9, 1916 - June 22, 1980) was a highly decorated Lieutenant general in the United States Army. He received two Distinguished Service Crosses during Korean War. He later commanded the 4th Infantry Division and First United States Army.

Youth and early military career

Hutchin was named after his father, a lawyer who saw service in World War I.

Hutchin was appointed to the United States Military Academy in 1934 from Washington state where his father was posted at Vancouver Barracks, Washington. He graduated with the class of 1938. He commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the 29th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia until July 1941.

World War II

At the time of the United States entry into World War II, Hutchin was assistant staff officer G1 (administration) for the 4th Infantry Division until attending the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in early 1942. In April, Hutchin became assistant G2 (intelligence) staff officer for the 7th Infantry Division, then at Fort Ord, California.

In 1943, he was assistant G3 (operations and plans) staff officer for IX Corps. Later that year he received a wartime commission as lieutenant colonel and posting with the Southeast Asia Command joint planning staff. After the war he transferred to the War Department general staff operations division strategy section. In November 1946, Hutchin was assistant executive officer for General George C. Marshall's special presidential mission to China. He returned to China as part of General Albert Coady Wedemeyer's presidential mission in late 1947. By the end of the year, Hutchin was joint secretary then joint planner with the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC) joint staff.

Korean War

In Korean War, Hutchin was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in commanding the 23rd Infantry Regiment 1st battalion against the Chinese offensive from November 25 to November 30, 1950 around Kujangdong, Korea. Hutchin was engaged in a series of defensive actions, counterattacks and withdrawals against superior enemy forces when his Company C, was overrun and suffered losses of combat leadership and material. Taking personal command, he recovered the disorganized elements of the company, recovered the unit's original position and relieved troops surrounded when the position was overrun.

Later, his battalion was assigned as the rear guard to the 2nd Infantry Division withdraw from Kujangdong and resisted the two enemy battalions with a single rifle company and armored company.

 

Later career

As a major general, Hutchin commanded the 4th Infantry Division from September 1963 to June 1965.

From July 1967 to August 1969, Lieutenant General Hutchin was deputy commander/chief of staff for U.S. Pacific Command.  From 1969 to 1971, LTG Hutchin served as the Commanding General, V Corps, Frankfurt, Germany. Hutchin commanded the First United States Army at Fort Meade, Maryland from 1971 until his retirement in 1973. He was succeeded by Glenn D. Walker.

Awards and decorations

CIB2.png Combat Infantryman Badge with star
Bronze oak leaf cluster Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Bronze oak leaf clusterBronze oak leaf clusterBronze oak leaf clusterBronze oak leaf cluster Legion of Merit with four oak leaf clusters
Bronze Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster
Commendation Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
ArrowheadBronze star Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one service star and Arrowhead device
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Bronze star Korean Service Medal with one service star
United Nations Korea Medal
Date of death: June 22, 1980
Home of record: Washington

Claire Hutchin graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1938. He earned his first Distinguished Service Cross in Korea on August 31, 1950. Two months later on November 25, 1950, he earned a SECOND Distinguished Service Cross. He retired as a U.S. Army Lieutenant General.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Distinguished Service Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Claire Elwood Hutchin, Jr., United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division.

Lieutenant Colonel Hutchin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Changyong, Korea, on 31 August 1950. On that date, the North Korean forces made a fierce attack in overwhelming numbers along the entire sixteen thousand yard front being held by the 1st Battalion, and broke through the river defenses of Companies B and C almost immediately. In the face of almost certain disaster, Colonel Hutchin formulated a plan for assembling his battalion and reorganizing it into an effective fighting force. This was accomplished with such success that the enemy was prevented from making any further penetration. During the entire battle the 1st Battalion was under constant attack by an enemy with apparently unlimited manpower. In the course of the action the enemy suffered over three hundred casualties. In all of this extremely difficult time, Colonel Hutchin maintained an attitude of cheerful confidence, and personally led units and men into designated positions, exposing himself to the enemy fire constantly while doing so. His coolness and decisive actions were the major factor in maintaining a strong "pocket" behind the enemy's front lines astride one of the enemy's main supply routes. In the course of this action, a counterattacking battalion from another American unit was cut off and surrounded in the vicinity of the 1st Battalion, and Colonel Hutchin, on his own initiative, assumed command of these additional forces in his area, organizing the positions of both battalions in such a way that further enemy attacks were completely futile. For a period of almost two days, Colonel Hutchin continuously exposed himself to what appeared to be certain death in order to maintain the morale of his men. His cheerfulness and confidence during this period were unfailing, and a source of tremendous inspiration to all of his officers and men.

General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 196 (December 14, 1950)

Action Date: 31-Aug-50

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Headquarters and Headquarters Company

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 23d Infantry Regiment

Division: 2d Infantry Division

Distinguished Service Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Claire Elwood Hutchin, Jr., United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while Commanding 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division.

Lieutenant Colonel Hutchin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Kujang-dong, Korea, from 25 through 30 November 1950. During this period, the 1st Battalion was engaged in a series of defensive actions, counterattacks and withdrawals being conducted against superior enemy forces by the 23d Infantry Regiment. On the morning of 28 November 1950, Company C was driven from its positions by a numerically superior enemy unit, with a resultant loss of equipment and weapons and the company was completely disorganized. Learning that all the company officers and a majority of the senior noncommissioned officers were either killed or wounded in this engagement, Colonel Hutchin quickly went to the unit's position, reorganized the remnants of the company, and personally led the remaining men in a counterattack to regain the positions. In the face of extremely heavy enemy small-arms fire, Colonel Hutchin personally directed and led this operation, succeeded in recovering the greater part of the lost equipment, and relieved groups of men of Company C who had been surrounded when the positions were overrun. That afternoon, when the 1st Battalion was designated as rear guard for the Second Division's withdrawal from Kujang-dong, Colonel Hutchin personally took command of the rear guard element, consisting of one rifle company and a company of tanks. The pursuing enemy force, estimated at two battalions, pressed hard on the rear of the division's column, which was forced to move slowly due to traffic congestion. Each time the column was forced to halt, the enemy would attack the rear guard from both flanks, using small arms, automatic weapons and grenades. During one of these attacks, Colonel Hutchin was painfully wounded in the face by flying shrapnel, but remained in control, brilliantly directing the defensive actions of the rear guard with outstanding success.

General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 558 (July 19, 1951)

Action Date: November 25 - 30, 1950

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 23d Infantry Regiment

Division: 2d Infantry Division

Army Distinguished Service Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Claire Elwood Hutchin, Jr., United States Army, was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States from 1967 to 1969.

General Orders: United States Military Academy Register of Graduates

Action Date: 1967 - 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 23d Infantry Regiment

Division: 2d Infantry Division

Army Distinguished Service Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant General Claire Elwood Hutchin, Jr., United States Army, was awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Army Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States as Commanding General, FIRST Army, from 1971 to 1973.

General Orders: United States Military Academy Register of Graduates

Action Date: 1971 - 1973

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant General

Company: Commanding General

Division: 1st Army

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Korean War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Claire Elwood Hutchin, Jr. (ASN: 0-21092), United States Army, for gallantry in action as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division, in action against an armed enemy on 18 August 1950 near Hyong-Pung, Korea. O 18 August 1950, a reconnaissance in force was formed by Company B, 23d Infantry Regiment, whose purpose was to mount a combined tank, infantry and artillery attack on the northern portion of Hill 409. In order to better control this force, he established his forward observation post on a hill immediately behind that of the enemy. As the attack progressed, it became more and more evident that the best vantage point from which to control the entire action was from the battalion observation post. The enemy, having excellent observation, having identified Colonel Hutchin's position as a Commander's Observation Post, caused a heavy barrage of mortar and machine gun fire to be brought upon it. Disregarding this extremely heavy fire, he remained in his exposed position, directing the operation with such coolness that all of his men were inspired by his leadership and calm courage. His action in exposing himself for the purpose of personally leading his men in this attack was unquestionably a major factor in the ultimate success of this operation. Colonel Hutchin's gallant and heroic leadership was an inspiration to all who took part in this action, and reflects great credit upon himself and the military service.

General Orders: Headquarters, 2d Infantry Division, General Orders No. 62 (October 11, 1950)

Action Date: August 18, 1950

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Commanding Officer

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 23d Infantry Regiment

Division: 2d Infantry Division

Annotation

 

August 10, 1950

  

But on August 10 the NKPA 5th Division, linking with the NKPA 12th Division, had cut behind the ROK 3rd Division and isolated it on the coast above Yŏngdök. Continuing this combined attack, the NKPA 12th Division had captured P'ohang, thereby posing a threat to Taegu through the "back door."

Believing Taegu to be gravely threatened, Walker ordered emergency measures to save the city.

Bio    

 

* * *

[note]

 

  

When Freeman received Dutch Keiser's orders to provide a combat team to help rescue the 24th Division, he chose the 1/23. It was commanded by another new arrival to the division, West Pointer (1938) Claire E. Hutchin, thirty-four. Hutchin had never led troops in combat. During World War II he had been a Pentagon war plans officer; in the postwar period he had accompanied the Marshall mission to China. But Hutchin was fortunate to draw an able, combat experienced exec, Cesidio V. ("Butch") Barberis, who had served in Walker's XX Corps in World War II.

[note]

 

August 13, 1950

 

     

Led by Barberis, the 1/23 attacked toward Yŏngsan-ni,, in conjunction with the 2/27 and 3/27, on August 13. Like most American units newly committed to combat in Korea, the 1/23 had a rough first day. One Army historian wrote: "Unprepared for the heat and humidity of a Korean August and poorly conditioned for hill climbing, the men struggled slowly from one ridge to the next. Meanwhile, the combat hardened 2/27 and 3/27 cracked through the NKPA and cleared the MSR and went into Yŏngsan-ni,.

Later that day Hutchin himself led a patrol of his 1/23 into the town. Still later the rest of his battalion marched wearily in behind him. Credited with another smashing triumph ("saving the 24th Division), the Wolfhounds withdrew that night for other missions. Hutchin's 1/23 remained to reinforce the division and to guard the MSR against further NKPA incursions.

        

With his rear at last under control, Church refocused his attention on his "front. The situation there was still grave. In renewed, vicious attacks, wave after wave of stoic NKPA troops had inflicted further grievous casualties on the 9th and the ragged remnants of the 19th and 34th regiments.

The 9th, bravely attempting to preserve its honor, was hit particularly hard. In E Company of Walker's 2/9 all the officers had been wiped out on five separate occasions. Throughout the regiment sergeants routinely commanded platoons in place of lieutenants. In all, on August 13 the 9th suffered 140 battle casualties and 59 non-battle casualties, mostly from heat exhaustion. Ned Moore's 19th Infantry journal noted that the men of Londahl's 1 /9 were "too exhausted even to remove their own dead."

[note]

 

   Task Force Hill

Determined finally to eject the NKPA from the 24th Division front, Church that night (August 13) ordered Hill, John G. [Col CO 9thIR] to take command of all the available infantry and launch yet another counterattack on the following day. Reeling with fatigue and lack of sleep, Hill summoned the no less exhausted Beauchamp, Charles Edward [Col. CO 34thIR], Moore, Ned Dalton [Col. CO 19thIR], and Smith, Charles Brad [Lt. Col. CO 1bn21stIR]  to his CP.

 

They drew plans which would employ all seven depleted infantry battalions (about 4,000 men), backed by all available artillery (five batteries, mounting thirty howitzers) and (they hoped) supported by FEAF close air. Hill also attempted to draw Hutchin, Claire E.[Officer CO 1Bn23rdIR] 's newly arrived and powerful 1/23 (900 men) into this combined force.

Barberis, Cesidio V. "Butch"[Maj. 1Bn9thIR] remembered:

"I stopped off at John Hill's Ninth Regiment CP and told him the MSR was clear and we would be happy to help evacuate his wounded, et cetera, et cetera. Hill was in quite a dither. In fact, in my estimation he was not in control of his faculties. He was quite irrational. He ordered me to position the battalion in the line. I explained we were not under his command but under Church's direct command. He was quite forceful in telling me that he was giving me a direct order and that I would comply with that direct order. I telephoned Church, and in short order he countermanded Hill and told me to maintain my vigil on the MSR and await further orders."

[note]

 

 

August 14, 1950

 

 

biography   biography 9th RCT

August 14, 1950

The attack went off, per schedule, at dawn on August 14. It was raining hard. Because of that, no FEAF aircraft appeared, but the artillery laid down a ten-minute barrage.

Again carrying the burden of the attack, John Hill's 9th Infantry occupied the center. Beauchamp's 34th and Brad Smith's 1/21 were on the left; Ned Moore's 19th was on the right. Joe Walker's 2/9 smartly took its first objective; but thereafter everything went wrong, and the attack fizzled out all across the front.

The shattered 19th and 34th regiments were simply physically and mentally incapable of further offensive action. After an average gain of 500 yards against fierce NKPA resistance, Task Force Hill ground to a halt.

biography   biography

That day Johnnie Walker again flew in to see John Church. By that time John Hill had recommended to Church that his forces break off the attack and go over to the defensive.

Inasmuch as Claire Hutchin's 1/23 had been sent north to reinforce Dick Stephens's weakened 21st Infantry and Task Force Hyzer, there were no other division reserves to commit to the battle. Walker, disgusted and furious, reached a drastic and, for the Army, a humiliating decision: He would commit Eddie Craig's Marine RCT to restore the 24th Division's front.

 To Church he delivered a scathing rebuke: "I want this situation cleaned up, and quick." Later that day Walker's senior field assistant and gofer (who held the title "Tactical Chief of Staff"), William A. Collier, fifty-four, flew down and gave the Marines marching orders, which, in effect, canceled the offensive of Task Force Kean toward Chinju.

[note]

 

 

 

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19500831 0000 DSC HUTCHIN

Thursday August 10, 1950 (Day 47)

Saturday August 12, 1950 (Day 49)

Sunday August 13 1950 (Day 50)

Monday August 14, 1950 (Day 51)