Hutchins, Johnnie David (1922–1943)

By: Art Leatherwood

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Johnnie David Hutchins, Medal of Honor recipient, was born at Weimar, Texas, on August 4, 1922, the eldest son of Johnnie Marin and Callie (Drue) Hutchins. He attended Eagle Lake High School and enlisted in the naval reserve at Houston in November 1942. Seaman First Class Hutchins, United States Navy, was on board a landing ship tank, the USS LST 473, during a landing assault on Lae, New Guinea, on September 4, 1943. His vessel was under a hail of enemy fire from shore batteries and aerial bombardment when a torpedo bore down on the ship. The helmsman was dislodged by a bomb blast, and Hutchins was mortally wounded. Fully aware of the dire situation, he grasped the wheel and with his last strength maneuvered the vessel clear of the advancing torpedo. He succumbed to his injuries still clinging to the wheel with his final thoughts on the safety of his ship. A destroyer escort vessel, the USS Johnnie Hutchins, was launched in May 1944. Hutchins's mother was sponsor at the launching, and his fiancée, Ruby Mae Butler, was maid of honor. Hutchins is buried in Lakeside Cemetery at Eagle Lake, Texas.

Dallas Morning News, May 2, 1944. Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (Washington: GPO, 1973).
Time Periods:
  • World War II

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Art Leatherwood, “Hutchins, Johnnie David,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995