Coast Guard career included rescuing people, confiscating drugs, and towing a dead whale

It took pallets to stack the 13 tons of cocaine Richard Hutchison played a role in confiscating while serving in the Coast Guard.

Courtesy

It took pallets to stack the 13 tons of cocaine Richard Hutchison played a role in confiscating while serving in the Coast Guard.

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Hutchinson during a Change of Command ceremony on the Cutter Maria Bray.

I enlisted in the reserves May 1974. After graduating high school, I went to Yorktown, Virginia for Boatswain Mate School.

I spent time on the Cutter Unimak, Station Channel Island, the Cutter Point Judith, and Station Rio Vista. Those were the days of beards, long hair, and the end of Vietnam.

I got out of the reserves in May 1980 and had a few other jobs in between service. Then in 1986 I enlisted again, this time active duty. Times had changed for the better.

Zero tolerance for drugs, and the Coast Guard conducted law enforcement, fisheries, drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, search and rescue, customs and everything in between.

I was stationed on the Cutter Citrus, Station Coos Bay, Station Maui, SAR Detachment Kauai, Executive Petty Officer Cutter Point Harris, Executive Petty Officer Cutter Point Evans, Pacific Area Law Enforcement Training Team, Cutter Morgenthau, and Cutter Active.

I received my commission as a Chief Warrant Officer June 2002. I was then assigned to the Cutter Aspen, Executive Officer Cutter George Cobb, Commanding Officer Maria Bray, Executive Officer Polar Star, and Coast Guard Auxiliary Operations Training Officer.

My time in the Coast Guard gave me many memorable experiences. I towed a dead whale by the tail to sea.

I have rescued hundreds of people, boats, and animals.

Spent my birthday locked in the infirmary of a Russian trawler with five other boarding team members.

Interdicted 13 tons of cocaine.

Interdicted three foreign vessels with migrants onboard.

Escorted submarines for days following the Sept. 11 attack.

Responded to ship, boat and pier fires.

Our ship was struck by lightning.

I have been in some of the worst weather. We were hit by a 50-foot wave on the Cutter Citrus.

Returned Cuban migrants to Cuba.

The sad part was six of my fellow coasties committed suicide, and the recovery of many bodies and body parts.

I have been stationed in California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Florida. I have been to Alaska, the Bering Sea, Cuba, Mexico, Central America, South America, Guam, the Bahamas, and the east coast to Boston.

My awards include: Coast Guard Commendation Medals, Coast Guard Achievement Medals, Commandant Letters of Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendations, Meritorious Team Commendation Ribbons, Coast Guard Good Conduct Medals, Coast Guard Reserve Good Conduct Medal, Coast Guard Global War On terrorism Service Medal, Coast Guard Humanitarian Service Medal, Coast Guard Bicentennial Unit Commendation Ribbon, Coast Guard Reserve Good Conduct Medal, Coast Guard “E” Ribbons, Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation, Department Of Transportation Sept. 11 Ribbon, Department Of Transportation Outstanding Unit Award, Coast Guard Expert Pistol Medal, Coast Guard Expert Rifle Medal, Coast Guard Command At Sea Insignia, Coast Guard Cutterman Insignia, Coast Guard Coxswain Insignia, National Defense Service medals, Special Operations Service Ribbons, Sea Service Ribbons.

BOSN4 Richard Hutchison, USCG (Ret)

United States Coast Guard

United States Coast Guard Reserve

Dates of service:

May 1974 to May 1980,

Sept 1986 to Sept. 2013

Resides in Kingman