Based: Ft. Riley, Kan.
2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: May 10, 2009
Hometown: Long Beach
High School: Wilson High (Long Beach)
The decision shocked many in his family.
Hutchison was sent to Ft. Riley, Kan., where the Army's transition teams train before deployment. When he arrived, duffel bag slung over his shoulder, his team members were skeptical; most were three decades his junior.
"I immediately said to myself, 'Are we that desperate that we have to put old people on a transition team?' " Elext Holmes, the team's logistics advisor, recalled at Hutchison's memorial service.
But his men quickly came to respect his quiet leadership. Hutchison never told anyone what to do, but his actions set a high standard. He was always the first to volunteer for grunt work around the base. And after returning from an exhausting patrol, he'd casually ask who wanted to join him for a run.
"He was a psychology professor, and he knew what he was doing," Holmes said.
Hutchison spent the first year of his two-year tour in Afghanistan, the second in Iraq.
His team in Iraq called him "the stubborn old goat." He was set in his ways, had little patience for "New Army" rules, and occasionally ignored some, his family and team members said.
He was a month short of his 61st birthday, making him the oldest U.S. casualty in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense.
After a memorial service at Ft. Riley, he was buried in Scottsdale on May 19, and is survived by his mother, brother, a half brother, a half sister and his two daughters.
Read the entire LA Times story about Laia and Army Major Steven Hutchison here.
Find more in the Stars and Stripes
and the Daily Mail
and visit Major Hutchison's Guest Book.