A Rhodes Scholar And Armor Officer In Germany And Vietnam

C. Powell Hutton


Following his grandfather, father, and brother, C. Powell Hutton (USMA ’59) attended West Point for the values and leadership the Academy provided. He achieved success in all aspects of Cadet life, and was a “Star Man” (indicating academic excellence) all four years. He commissioned as an Armor Officer, but instead of going directly to the operational Army, he attended Balliol College at Oxford from 1959 to 1962 as a Rhodes Scholar, along with six other graduates of West Point. He found one of the great benefits of studying at Oxford was learning how to ask the right questions. After completing the Armor Basic Course in 1962, he was stationed in Korea, where he eventually commanded C Company, 3rd Battalion, 40th Armor (later redesignated as 1-15 Armor) in the 1st Cavalry Division. Returning to Fort Hood and the 1st Armored Division, he commanded three more units, B Co and HHC, 2nd Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment, and 5/6 Infantry, the only unit in the division to operate the Davy Crocket, a nuclear mortar. During his time at Fort Hood, he deployed on temporary duty (TDY) to Vietnam to conduct an ARCOV study (Army Combat Operations in Vietnam) assessing the most effective TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment) for Infantry units deploying to Southeast Asia. Interestingly, he held a going away party for his older brother, Church, who was deploying to Vietnam with Special Forces, and due to this short-notice tasker, arrived in-country before his brother. After returning from Vietnam, he completed the Armor Officer Advanced Course before joining the faculty of the Social Sciences Department at West Point in 1967. While at the Academy, he taught Modern European History and Middle East Studies, and served as the Executive Director of SCUSA (Student Conference on U.S. Affairs). During the summer of 1968, he traveled to Beirut, Lebanon and participated in graduate studies at the American University, taking the opportunity to travel to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Israel before returning to West Point. In 1969, he deployed to Vietnam where he served as the Assistant Chief of Staff for the 9th Infantry Division. Later in that tour, he served as the Executive Officer (XO) for 3/4 Cav, and as the Assistant Chief of Staff for the 25th Infantry Division. Returning from Vietnam, he attended the Naval War College before being stationed in Germany, where he was the XO for 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry, and later commanded 3rd Battalion 68th Armor. He noticed that some of the problems that were manifesting in Vietnam eventually arose in Germany. Drugs were becoming an issue, and the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) Corps was decimated supplying the war in Vietnam. In 1974, he attended the Army War College and traveled to numerous civilian colleges and universities to talk about the Army in the post-Vietnam era. From 1975 to 1979, he served on the Army Staff, focused on NATO and Europe. Later, he wrote President Carter’s National Military Strategy and went on to serve as the speechwriter for General Rogers, the Chief of Staff of the Army. His final years in the Army were spent as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff for SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe), a Senior Army Fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard, and finally as the Director of Academic Affairs at the National Defense University at Fort McNair, before retiring as a Colonel in 1989. He then became a military contractor, retiring in 2007. In this interview, he talks about his family history, his experiences at West Point, and his time in the Army. He discusses his service in the field army and his deployments to Vietnam. He describes his assignments on various staffs and in educational assignments. Finally, he reflects on his service in the Army, and explains what West Point means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War Cold War
topics West Point History Camaraderie Life After Military Military Families Military Techniques
interviewer David Siry
date 04 November 2016


name C. Powell Hutton
institution USMA
graduation year 1959
service Armor
unit C, 3-40 AR, 1st Cavalry Division; B Co, & HHC, 2-81 Armor, and 5/6 Infantry, 1st Armored Division; 3/68 Armor
specialty Department of Social Sciences
service dates 1959 1989