COL(R) Paul Churchill Hutton III came from a family with a long tradition of service to the nation. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, where his father served as a foreign service officer. He grew up learning about how the United States projected ideas of freedom and democracy to the world, and understood the importance of policies like the Marshall Plan. Being the grandson and son of West Point graduates, it was only natural that Church Hutton and his brother would desire to attend the Academy. Upon graduation, he selected Armor, based on his grandfather’s experience in the Cavalry. His first assignment was in Korea in 1959, where he served along the border in tense and dangerous situations. After Korea, assignments at Fort Riley, Kansas, and in Germany along the Czech border followed. In 1966, he deployed to Vietnam with 5th Special Forces Group. He earned a Master’s Degree in literature at the University of Pennsylvania following his first tour in Vietnam, and then taught from 1968-1971 in the English Department at West Point. He returned to Vietnam in 1971 and was assigned to MACV, where he worked for CORDS (Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support). In 1976, he commanded 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group in Germany, and by 1983, he was commanding Army Special Forces, Europe. His final assignment in the military was as a Senior Strategic Planner with the Department of State. After leaving the military, COL(R) Hutton served in a variety of capacities in business and national security.
In this interview, COL(R) Hutton talks about his family background, including his grandfather, Cuthbert Powell Stearns (USMA ’09), and his father, Paul C. Hutton, Jr. (USMA ’26). He describes growing up around the world, experiencing diverse cultures in Dublin, Mexico City, Guatemala, Istanbul, and London. He discusses the importance of West Point, especially its role in character development. Finally, he explores, in depth, his military career, highlighting his deployments to Korea and Vietnam, as well as his Cold War experiences in Europe and his time teaching English at West Point.