BISMARCK, N.D. — Lt. Col. Neil R. Hutchison was recently honored by the North Dakota Army National Guard at a formal retirement ceremony March 6, at the Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility in Bismarck.
Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, presented Hutchison the Meritorious Service Medal for his service and praised him for the loyalty, dedication and professionalism he displayed throughout his career.
“Col. Hutchison served his state and nation extremely well for nearly 39 years; 32 of them as an aviator in the North Dakota Army National Guard,” Sprynczynatyk told the group of fellow Soldiers, friends and retired Guardsmen in attendance. “A professional Army aviator, he flew over 3,600 accident-free flight hours and served in many key aviation leadership positions.”
Hutchison, a native of Hillsboro, N.D., enlisted in 1972 and served with the local Detachment 1, 191st Military Police Company. In 1974, he attended Officer Candidate School earning a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the N.D. Army National Guard.
In 1978, he attended flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala. He served as Flight Operations Officer and Company Commander of the 1214th Medical Company, Air Ambulance. From 2000 to 2003, he commanded the 1-112th Aviation Battalion where he oversaw the transition from light helicopters to UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. Hutchison is rated as an Army master aviator and is qualified to operate UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) and OH-58 Kiowa (Scout) helicopters.
Hutchison thanked all those in attendance. “I appreciated the opportunity to serve with so many fine Soldiers and aviators during my years in the Guard. This is a great organization, and I was very proud to be a part of the North Dakota Army National Guard and fly with the greatest aviation community in the world.”
Hutchison earned a bachelor of science in 1973 from the University of North Dakota. He worked as an Emergency Medical Services helicopter pilot in the Fargo and Bismarck areas from 1987 to 2001 and the Minot area in 2007. He became a full-time Guardsman from 2001 to 2004 as the Emergency Operations Support Officer after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and again from 2007 to 2010 within the Training Division of the North Dakota Army National Guard. He and his wife Anne (Kramer) reside in Bismarck and have three grown sons.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about a dozen North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.
High-resolution photos to accompany this release are available on Flickr "Lt. Col. Neil Hutchison Retirement"