William F. Hutchison (Brig Gen. ret.) served in the Delaware Air National Guard (DANG) for more than three decades and flew combat in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was air commander of the DANG from 1972 through 1983.
His aviation career began at the University of Delaware where he was a member of the ROTC. After graduation in 1949 he joined the Guard and entered Air Force pilot training. Dispatched to Korea in 1951, he flew 87 combat missions in F-84s. He led repeated raids through intense enemy fire, often returning with holes in fuselage and wings. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, multiple air medals and an Army Commendation Medal.
Upon return to Wilmington, Hutchison was named aircraft maintenance supervisor of the Air Guard and in 1961 selected as commander of the 142nd Air Transport Squadron, where he served until promotion to colonel and commander of the 166th Airlift Group in 1972.
During the Vietnam War, Hutchison flew missions into Da Nang and Tan Son Nhut airports, and while his Boeing C-97s were hit by enemy ground fire, the rugged aircraft always brought their crews safely home to New Castle.
18,000+Hours and Still Flying
Hutchison retired from the Guard after 33 years, but he didn't retire his wings. He has flown commercial jets for another 8,000 hours, stretching his total flight time to 18,000 hours in 14 different aircraft types. He has worked 22 years as an instructor and examiner for FlightSafety International at New Castle Airport and still flies the Westwind and Astra jet aircraft.
He and his wife Gerri now reside in Chadds Ford, Pa. They are the parents of two sons and six daughters. They have 15 grandchildren.