Marine Pvt. Nolen R. Hutchings

Marine Pvt. Nolen R. Hutchings

Died March 23, 2003 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom

19, of Boiling Springs, S.C.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed in action near Nasiriyah March 23. He was listed as missing until April 13, when the Defense Department announced his remains had been identified. Marine’s family relieved to have report on son’s death in Iraq

Associated Press

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Carolyn Hutchings has an 800-page government document in her hands and the belief that questions about her son’s death in Iraq will diminish with time. It’s been a long year waiting to confirm how her 20-year-old son, Pvt. Nolen Ryan Hutchings, died just days after the fighting started in Iraq. “It was friendly fire,” said Carolyn Hutchings, who met for six hours Saturday with Marines who explained that her son died after his vehicle was mistaken for a pickup truck reported to be carrying the enemy dressed as Americans. While the Marines answered her many questions, she said they also left her with the thick document that covered the year-long investigation. “I feel better now,” she said. “I’ll have to read through all this to see what it’s all about.” Nolen Hutchings was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was reported missing during fighting on the outskirts of Nasiriyah when his unit tried to secure a bridge and help wounded soldiers. His unit was hit by an errant strike from an Air Force A-10 warplane providing air support. Nolen Hutchings was South Carolina’s second casualty in the war in Iraq and one of eight in his unit to die March 23. Hutchings and her husband, Larry, waited three weeks to know whether their son was alive or dead. Not content to wait for the authorities to notify them, after almost two weeks, Larry Hutchings called a site in the United States where the victims had been returned from the friendly fire incident that occurred on the day the Marines said their son was missing. Their worst fears were confirmed by telephone late that night, which led the Hutchings to more intensely question what happened. Carolyn Hutchings struggled to accept her son’s death because she had not been able to see him, although she believed the Marines’ reports based on DNA tests that the body that came home to Boiling Springs was her son’s. She does not plan to let go of the lengthy report from the Marines who investigated his death. “Now I know — finally,” she said. “They helped me understand.” Marine Pvt. Nolen Ryan Hutchings, who was adopted in the fifth grade, grew up wanting to be a Marine. He signed up not long after graduating from Boiling Springs (S.C.) High School in 2000. “He was proud to be a Marine. We were proud of him,” said his father, Larry Hutchings.

Associated Press

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