PHOENIX – The oldest soldier to be killed in Iraq fought in Vietnam and decided to re-enlist at the age of 59 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the death of his wife, according to his brother.
Army Maj. Steven Hutchison, 60, was killed in Iraq on Sunday after a homemade bomb went off near his vehicle in Al Farr, according to the Department of Defense.
Richard Hutchison of Scottsdale told The Associated Press on Thursday that his older brother Steven wanted to re-enlist immediately after the 9/11 attacks, but that his wife, Candy, didn’t want him to.
But when Candy died of breast cancer, “a part of him died,” so he signed up again in July 2007, according to his brother and the Army.
“He was very devoted to the service and to his country,” Richard Hutchison said. “For somebody to go back into the military at 60 years old, obviously I didn’t want him to do it, but he had a mind of his own and that’s what he wanted to do. He’s been a soldier his whole life.”
He said his brother never explained why he wanted to re-enlist, but that “I’m guessing it had something to do with them coming into our country and killing our people.”
“He wanted to go back in,” he added. “He wanted to do his share.”
He said Steven Hutchison served in Afghanistan for a year after he re-enlisted and went to Iraq in October as a team leader of about a dozen soldiers who would train Iraqi soldiers how to fight. But, he said his brother’s mission changed and that he was working to secure Iraq’s southern border instead.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Nathan Banks said Thursday that Hutchison was the oldest Army soldier killed in Iraq.
An Associated Press database of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that Hutchison is the oldest member of any service branch killed since the wars broke out.
Richard Hutchison said Steven was a great big brother and a best friend who was always looking out for him. “He took care of me,” he said.
“I was worried about him. I didn’t want him to go (to Iraq),” he said through tears, adding that he loved his brother “so much.”
He said Steven Hutchison worked as a college professor of psychology at a couple of California universities and then worked at a private health care corporation in Arizona before he retired a few years ago.
Records at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles show that Hutchison taught in the psychology department there on and off between 1988 and 1996. Hutchison’s résumé, provided by the school, shows he was a lecturer at California State University in Long Beach and taught at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif.
Hutchison was born in Cincinnati and raised in Long Beach, Calif. Steven and Richard have a half brother and half sister living in Michigan. Steven Hutchison married four times, and was married to Candy for 10 years before she died. He had no children.
Richard Hutchison said his brother will be buried next to Candy in Scottsdale, and that a funeral is tentatively planned for Tuesday.
Hutchison was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Ft. Riley, Kan.