John Kendrick Hutton
Cadet Company: I1
Date of Birth: September 18, 1942
Date of Death: August 11, 1967 -- in Vietnam from hostile action.
Age: 24 years, 11 months and 22 days young.
Interred: Cedar Hill Cemetery, Suffolk, VA - View or Post a Eulogy
THE SHATTERING NEWS that your life had been snuffed out by a sniper’s bullet during combat in Vietnam on 11 August 1967 brought our own family’s world crashing down around us, and, as all parents are wont to do, we spend many hours living in retrospect the happy times and the rough times as well that we spent with you and for you.
Being the only son among four children of a Virginia Circuit Judge perhaps spoiled you a little, but also made you very dear and special. From the earliest observations we knew that we had a son with a fine mind and marked independence—a “do-it-yourself-er.” School work came easily to your active and retentive mind, and so you had time for the outdoors which you loved, as well as for books. You were actively interested in scouting and your church. Although too light to play varsity football, you played for the love of the game through the “Midget” and junior varsity years, and ran track in high school. You were never a member of the “in-gang,” Jack, nor a “drugstore cowboy”; however, the years have shown that you were held in high esteem by the faculty as well as your fellow students. Hunting and fishing and building a hydroplane (part of the time in our dining room) occupied most of your leisure hours. The friends you made while carrying newspapers remain devoted to your memory today, son.
After completing high school near the top of your class, and having been accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy, we felt that a year at a preparatory school would give you a stronger foundation for West Point. So your appointment was deferred for one year while you attended The Bullis School, and were accepted the second time at West Point. All parents, cadets, and graduates know the mixed emotions which engulfed all of us on that big day—entering West Point—5 July 1961. It was not all smooth sailing during those years, but there were many milestones, each of which was another brick in the foundation of building your character and personality. We watched proudly many times when you chose “the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” Some of our happiest memories are wrapped up in our visits with you at West Point—Plebe Christmas, the parades, ARMY-Navy game and June Week. Mary Pelham, your younger sister, was so proud to be included in all of these.
Not having to burn the midnight oil in order to stay in the clear academically, you found time for building a stereo, participating in the activities of several clubs, and finally found a real joy in skydiving. Your experiences with the skydiving Black Knights were most rewarding. When you received your diploma and your commission in the United States Army, we knew you were every inch a man.
During the First Class year you met your future wife, your beloved Paula. She was from Hampshire, England, and being without a family in the United States, it was our privilege and joy to help with your wedding which took place in the Cadet Chapel on 27 August 1966.
Less than a year later, our son, you were taken from us. It would make you proud to know that your minister said,”There is not much left for me to say—Jack preached his own sermon.” And at an inspiring memorial service at your high school, at which a bronze plaque inscribed “Duty, Honor, Country” was presented, one of your former classmates said, in part, “Jack wanted to know about the people around him, about his world, and perhaps most of all about himself. I remember him as a leader among his classmates.” One of your former classmates of the Class of 1965 at the United States Military Academy also spoke of you as an “outstanding cadet,” and another read the citation accompanying the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device, awarded posthumously, which read in part, “Demonstrating unlimited courage and dedication to duty, Lieutenant Hutton repeatedly subjected himself to the fierce fire to coordinate and accurately direct supporting weaponry.”
The measure of your life was brief as time is counted, but the days were lived fully and with honor.