Honoring the late James “Duffy Hutton, Vietnam war hero

A local war hero is about to be laid to rest.   

Retired Navy Captain James “Duffy” Hutton spent years of his service as a prisoner of war in Vietnam before he settled down here in San Diego.  

Patrick Park, a retired captain of the U.S. Navy knew Captain “Duffy” Hutton for 40 years.  

Hutton was born in Washington D.C., but eventually called San Diego home.  

Back in 1965, he and his pilot were captured in north Vietnam and taken as prisoners of war.  

“He was tortured quite often, [but] he didn’t talk about that aspect of it,” said Park.  

Capt. Hutton spent seven and a half years in captivity at the prison known as the “Hanoi Hilton.”  

Park recalls one rare conversation where his friend talked about his experience.  

“One time when he was going to Balboa Naval Hospital for cataract surgery, I said ‘Was this something related to your Vietnam days?'” Park said. “He says, ‘They think it was when they hung me’ and they cut him down just before he expired. How many times that happened – I don’t know. But it gives you an idea of what he went through.”  

Capt. Hutton was freed in 1973. 

He received numerous Medals of Valor, including the Silver Star. 

Hutton was assigned to Naval Air Station Miramar. He got married, had a son, and he retired from the Navy in 1979. 

He passed away in October at the age of 85.  

Park says his friend had a great sense of humor and always found a way to make the best of things.  

He calls him a superhero.  

“He kept a stiff upper chin in all he did,” said Park. “We loved him.”  

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