NFM Lending is pleased to honor WWII Veteran, Kenneth Hutcherson, as the NFM Salute for February 2018.
After high school graduation in Halifax, Virginia, Hutcherson moved to Baltimore, Maryland in June 1941 and worked for Glen L. Martin Company. After 15 months, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He attended basic training at Keesler Field, Mississippi; radio school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and gunnery school in Las Vegas, Nevada. During this time, flight crews were being assembled in Moses Lake, Washington, with specialists coming from all parts of the country. All were trained as a flight crew, utilizing the skills required to man the thirteen 50-caliber machine guns and all other responsibilities.
After his training was complete, he was assigned to the 95th Bomb Group, 335th Squadron in Horham, England. During 1943-1944, Hutcherson flew 22 bombing missions as a radio operator/gunner, as well as 4 missions in the bombardier position. After the completion of those 26 missions, Hutcherson returned to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia in August 1944. While at Langley Field, he flew five nights a week to train radar operators with their equipment in the ball turret. Victory in Europe (VE Day) occurred in May during this time.
Hutcherson was discharged in October 1945. He was later called back from the Air Force Reserves in September 1950, but he was never activated and was discharged in May 1953. Hutcherson received several decorations, including the Air Medal (3 clusters), Distinguished Flying Cross, and 3 Presidential Unit Citations. He also received the Chevalier Legion of Honor from France.
After his discharge, Hutcherson worked for International Monetary Fund as chief of graphics until he retired at 65. Hutcherson was married for 67 years and has two children, a son, and a daughter. Today, Hutcherson resides in Towson, Maryland and continues to work once a week. He is the only surviving crew member of the 95th Bomb Group.
Hutcherson was nominated by his friend, Brooke Massicot.
“I met Ken while he was working at the post office in my building. At 94 years young, he is a phenomenal writer and story teller and has a great sense of humor. It is an honor to know Ken.”
Hutcherson chose Platoon 22 to receive this month’s donation.
Full Transcript of Video Interview is Below:
– Welcome to a very special edition of NFM TV. I’m honored to be joined in studio by World War II veteran Kenneth Hutcherson, who is receiving our NFM Salute for the month of February 2018. Thank you for being with us, and thank you for your service.
– Thank you.
– You flew in 26 bombing missions. You were based in London. What is a memory that comes to mind of your time in service?
– My first memory was my first bombing mission. We went to Gelsenkirchen, Germany. After we dropped our bombs from 28,000 feet, the bomb bay doors wouldn’t close. The pilot ordered me to crank up the doors because they would slow us down. We couldn’t stay in formation. So I walked across the catwalk, put the crank in. They started coming up, so in my haste to get back to the radio room, I dropped the crank, and I can still see it tumbling end over end from 28,000 feet, headed for the ground.
– Well, I know that you developed some really, really close friendships, and there’s one particular thing that happened with a good friend by the name of Robert Evans. He was one of the 10 that you served with on those bombing missions. Tell the audience about that experience.
– Well, they flew the bomb, they had honor flights and flew crews in from all over the country to visit the World War II memorial in Washington. And I knew he was coming. I was notified he was coming. We wrote them letters, which they opened on the plane, and they called it the mail call. So I made arrangements to meet him at BWI. When he got off the plane, he came off in a wheelchair, and I met him down on the tarmac, and we hugged and cried.
– Oh, and what a special moment. I know that these days you reside in Towson, Maryland, and one of the biggest thrills you get these days is the younger generation recognizing you, thanking you. What does that feel like?
– It feels great. In fact, I spoke at Towson High School with the senior class, and it was such a thrill for me to see the attention that they, and the interest they had in it.
– We’re so honored that you made the journey here to NFM TV today, and we’re also privileged to be able to donate a thousand dollars to Platoon 22, which is an organization very near and dear to NFM Lending, that deals with the systemic problem of veteran suicide. Congratulations on the nomination. We really appreciate it. It’s such an important cause to us. Thank you so much for being with us, and congratulations on the honor, and we’re so proud to have you with us.
– Thank you so much.
– All right, thank you very much. That’s our February 2018 NFM Salute, Kenneth Hutcherson. And we appreciate you watching NFM TV. We’ll see you next time.