May 15, 2009 in Nation/World

Soldier, 60, killed in Iraq

Vietnam vet is Iraq war’s oldest casualty
Amanda Lee Myers Associated Press
 

Death toll

As of Thursday, at least 4,295 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 3,441 military personnel died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

PHOENIX – A 60-year-old Vietnam War veteran killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq has become the oldest Army soldier to die in that conflict, the military said Thursday.

Maj. Steven Hutchison, of Scottsdale, Ariz., served in Vietnam and wanted to re-enlist immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks, but his wife was against it, his brother said.

Richard Hutchison told the Associated Press on Thursday that when she died, “a part of him died” so he signed up in July 2007 at age 59.

“He was very devoted to the service and to his country,” Richard Hutchison said.

He described him as a great big brother and friend. “I didn’t want him to go,” he said through tears, adding that he loved his brother “so much.”

The Pentagon said Steven Hutchison was killed in Iraq on Sunday. 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.

Hutchison served in Afghanistan for a year before deploying to Iraq in October, heading a 12-soldier team that trained the Iraqi military, his brother said. Later, he was assigned to help secure Iraq’s southern border.

Hutchinson, who grew up in California, taught psychology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on and off between 1988 and 1996. He then worked at a health care corporation in Arizona before retiring and re-entering the service, his brother said.

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