Airman First Class Benjamin Hutchins
82nd Airborne Division, 4th Brigade Combat Team, Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist
In the summer of 2009, Airman First Class Benjamin Hutchins deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the Tactical Air Control Party in support of the 82nd Airborne Divisionís 4th Brigade Combat Team.
During one incident of his deployment, two Soldiers attempting to recover cargo containers from a river were pulled into the water by a strong current. Despite several entrenched Taliban fighting positions on the east side of the river, Airman Hutchins immediately removed his body armor and helmet and dove into the water in an attempt to save his teammates.
After scouring the area for almost an hour, Airman Hutchins attempted to cross the river back towards friendly forces on the west when he encountered heavy enemy fire. To survive the attack, Airman Hutchins drifted northward with just his mouth and nose out of the water as bullets splashed within three meters of his body, until he finally reached the safety of a Coalition position.
During another firefight, Airman Hutchins and three teammates charged a machine-gun nest, where the group engaged two enemy fighters attempting to fire rocket-propelled grenades at a friendly patrol. The American squad neutralized the machine gun team, but before they could reach adequate cover, the squad endured heavy sniper fire from an insurgent on a rooftop. While seeking cover and under fire, Airman Hutchins accurately called for a precision missile strike from an orbiting MQ-1 Predator, neutralizing the target and saving his platoon.
For his multiple acts of heroism, Airman Hutchins has been submitted for the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Airmanís Medal, the Combat Action Medal and an Army Commendation Medal.