North High School Wall of Honor
Willard Harding Hutchins
Class of August, 1940
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953.
Willard Harding Hutchins
Bill graduated as member of North High's class of August, 1940. His next of kin was Mr. Robert D. Hutchins, 1238 11th Street, Des Moines, IA. Bill's service number was 321-66-56.
Willard Harding Hutchins
Year   Rank/Rating   Status
August, 1940 x x x Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
date   Employed
  Where and when
Jun 19, 1941 x US Navy x Enlisted in Des Moines
date x Training x One month of Basic Training;
Great Lakes, Illinois
September 30, 1941 x Stationed x USS Texas (BB-35). Onboard until 30 Apr 1942
May 11, 1942 x Stationed x USS Kankakee (AO-39). Onboard until 30 Jun 1944
December 22, 1944 x Stationed x USS Oklahoma City (CL-91). Onboard until 1 Jun 1946
November 1, 1946 x Stationed x Re-enlisted in Merchant Marines; LST-285
Jan 24,1947 x Discharged x Where?
July 31, 1948 x Family x Married Dorothy Fry (from Storm Lake) in Des Moines
aft 1948 x Employment x FBI in California
date x Employment x Taught at a California junior college near Sacramento
Dec 26, 2011 x Deceased x Sacramento, California
aft Dec 26, 2011 x Buried x Sacramento, California
USS Texas (BB-35)
USS Texas (BB-35), the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the US state of Texas, is a New York-class battleship. The ship was launched on 18 May 1912 and commissioned on 12 March 1914.

Soon after her commissioning, Texas saw action in Mexican waters following the "Tampico Incident" and made numerous sorties into the North Sea during World War I. When the United States formally entered World War II in 1941, Texas escorted war convoys across the Atlantic, and later shelled Axis-held beaches for the North African campaign and the Normandy Landings before being transferred to the Pacific Theater late in 1944 to provide naval gunfire support during the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Texas was decommissioned in 1948, having earned a total of five battle stars for service in World War II, and is now a museum ship near Houston, Texas.

Among the world's remaining battleships, Texas is notable for being the only remaining World War I-era dreadnought battleship, though she is not the oldest surviving battleship: Mikasa, a pre-dreadnought battleship ordered in 1898 by the Imperial Japanese Navy, HMS Warrior, the world's first all-steel warship and HMS Victory, launched in 1765 (Nelson's flagship at The Battle of Trafalgar), are all older than Texas. She is also noteworthy for being one of only seven remaining ships and the only remaining capital ship to have served in both World Wars.

Among US-built battleships, Texas is notable for her sizeable number of firsts: the first US Navy vessel to house a permanently assigned contingent of US Marines, the first US battleship to mount anti-aircraft guns, the first US ship to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers (analog forerunners of today's computers), the first US battleship to launch an aircraft,[10] from a platform on Turret 2, one of the first to receive the CXAM-1 version of CXAM production radar in the US Navy, the first US battleship to become a permanent museum ship, and the first battleship declared to be a US National Historic Landmark.

Soon after war broke out in Europe in September 1939, Texas began operating on the Neutrality Patrol, an American attempt to keep the war out of the western hemisphere. Later, as the United States moved toward more active support of the Allied cause, the warship began convoying ships carrying Lend-Lease matériel to the United Kingdom. In February 1941, the US 1st Marine Division was activated aboard Texas. On 1 February, Admiral Ernest J. King hoisted his flag as Commander-in-Chief of the re-formed Atlantic Fleet aboard Texas. That same year, while on Neutrality Patrol in the Atlantic, Texas was stalked unsuccessfully by the German submarine U-203.

Convoy duty
Sunday, 7 December 1941, found the battleship at Casco Bay, Maine, undergoing a rest and relaxation period following three months of watch duty at Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland. After 10 days at Casco Bay, she returned to Argentia and remained there until late January 1942, when she got underway to escort a convoy to England. After delivering her charges, the battleship patrolled waters near Iceland until March when she returned home. Around this time, the secondary battery was reduced to six 5-inch guns and the light AA battery was greatly increased, with the two 1.1-inch/75 caliber quad mount guns replaced by 6 (later 10) quad mount 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors and 44 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon cannons, the attack on Pearl Harbor having demonstrated the need for this. For the next six months, she continued convoy-escort missions to various destinations. On one occasion, she escorted Guadalcanal-bound marines as far as Panama; on another, the warship screened service troops to Freetown, Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa. More frequently, she made voyages to and from the United Kingdom escorting both cargo- and troop-carrying ships.

Operation Torch
Main article: Operation Torch
On 23 October 1942, Texas embarked upon her first major combat operation when she sortied with Task Group 34.8 (TG 34.8), the Northern Attack Group for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. The objective assigned to this group was Port Lyautey in French Morocco. The warships arrived off the assault beaches near the village of Mehedia early in the morning of 8 November and began preparations for the invasion. Texas transmitted Lt. General Dwight D. Eisenhower's first "Voice of Freedom" broadcast, asking the French not to oppose Allied landings on North Africa. When the troops went ashore, Texas did not go into action immediately to support them. At that point in the war, the doctrine of amphibious warfare was still embryonic. Many Army officers did not recognize the value of prelanding bombardments. Instead, the Army insisted upon attempting a landing by surprise. Texas entered the battle early in the afternoon when the Army requested her to fire upon a Vichy French Army ammunition dump near Port Lyautey. One more gunfire mission was provided on the 10th before the cease fire on 11 November. Thus, unlike in later operations, she expended only 273 rounds of 14-inch shells and 6 rounds of 5-inch shells. During her short stay, some of her crewmen went ashore to assist in salvaging some of the ships that had been sunk in the harbor. On 16 November, Texas departed North Africa for the East Coast of the United States in a task force along with Savannah, Sangamon, Kennebec, four transports, and seven destroyers.

The young news reporter Walter Cronkite was on board Texas starting in Norfolk, Virginia, through her service off the coast of North Africa, and thence back to the US. On the return trip, Cronkite was flown off Texas in one of her OS2U Kingfisher aircraft when Norfolk was within flying distance. He was granted permission to be flown the rest of the distance to Norfolk so that he could outpace a rival correspondent on Massachusetts to return to the US and to issue the first uncensored news reports to published about Operation Torch. Cronkite's experiences aboard Texas launched his career as a war correspondent.
USS Texas (BB-35)

Willard Harding Hutchins
*Photo and call signs of USS Texas (BB-35)
ISS Texas Ca;ll Signs
USS Oklahoma City (CL-91)
*Photo and call signs of USS Oklahoma City (CL-91)
USS Oklahoma City, CL-91 Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
USS Oklahoma City Awards and Citations
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon - Navy Unit Commendation - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (3)
Second Row - American Campaign Medal - Asia Pacific Campaign Medal (2) - WWII Victory Medal
Third Row - Navy WWII Occupation Service Medal w/ASIA Clasp - National Defense Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (3)
Fourth Row - Vietnam Service Medal (13) - Humanatarian Service Medal - Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (9)
Fifth Row - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/Palm - Republic of Vietnam Civil Action 1st Class Unit Citation w/Palm - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
USS Kankakee (AO-39)
*Photo and call signs of USS Kankakee (AO-39)
USS Kankakee, AO-39 Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
USS Kankakee Awards and Citations
Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - China Service Medal (extended) - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (6) - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia or Europe clasp)
Third Row - National Defense Service Medal - Korean Service Medal (1) - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (1-Cuba, 1-Dominican Republic)
Fourth Row - Philippine Presidential Unit Citation - Korean Presidential Unit Citation - Philippine Liberation Medal (1)
Fifth Row - Philippine Independence Medal - United Nations Service Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

Willard Harding Hutchins
US Navy
US Navy seal

US Navy Insignia

US Coast Guard: Storekeeper 2nd Class

Willard Harding Hutchins

USS Oklahoma City; patch1

USS Oklahoma City; patch2

USS Kankakee patch
(1) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Willard Harding Hutchins's class page is:
Died: 12/26/11.
Music: "Anchors Aweigh"
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