The Strange Case of Bobby 'Wheezer' Hutchins

This is about a celebrity of sorts, but it’s an attempt to corroborate some facts.

“Our Gang’s” Robert E “Wheezer” Hutchins died in May of 1945 at age 20 in an aviation training exercise. It seems as though he might have already been a war hero at this time. Here’s a photo from his memorial service (this site is up and down).

List of Silver Star recipients.
Info on his Bronze Star award.
Info on his Silver Star award.

The question: Wheezer would have been 18 or 19 during the battles that would lead to his receiving these awards, and that seems young for a lieutenant or a captain. When he died, he was an aviation cadet. So. . . are we talking about two different Robert E. Hutchins, or maybe Wheezer changed services to start a military career in the Air Force?

I can answer the second question - at that time it was just a question of applying and switching job classifications within the Army. The Air Force wasn’t established as a separate branch of service until 1947.

Earl–how sure are you of “Wheezer’s” real-life name? I mean, other than IMDB. I know you’re a high muckty muck there, but can you give a cite other than IMDB?

This says he did not see combat duty

In an interview with one of the last surviving crew of the Memphis Belle, he said that one thing Hollywood always gets wrong in portraying them is that they are always being portrayed too old. Most were in their teens or early twenties.

Hey, now. Remember you were the one who corroborated his actual date of death for me a year or two ago. Most online sources said March, but you found the contemporary records that said May.

But, yeah, I wouldn’t base my faith solely in IMDB, but there’s a pretty solid body of evidence to support that name.

ps. I’ve still drawn a complete blank on info on his little brother Dickie Hutchins, who had a memorable one-off appearance as one of Spanky’s babysitting charges, who kept proclaiming “re-MARK-a-ble!” Although I did corroborate that he died in 1978 at age 47 apparently in San Francisco. The Hutchins family was jinxed, it seems.