Thursday, April 22, 2010

ANZAC: Johnny McNutt- A good Southern Bloke: RIP

(Acting) Major John McNutt (Link to initial article) was killed in Kuwait on the 12th of March 2001. It doesn't seem like nine years ago to me, but no doubt his family will attest to the passing of time.

John was  a friend of mine. It shocked us all that he was killed on a training exercise by an American bomb. Could have happened to anyone in a simialr training activity! Whilst it was pretty random, I guess you have to remember that calling in close air support from a fast jet is tricky and risky. Yet this was an essential skill for someone in Johns role to know.

John was a good southern man. He had West Coast blood in his veins and was academically gifted. He had attended St Andrews College and was a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College (Duntroon)  where New Zealand sends a handful of trainees each year. He was very fit, a mad man on the rugby paddock and well liked. He had been with the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) for a short period of time only before his posting to Kuwait. This picture shows him sitting in the cockpit of an American Apache helicopter shortly before his death, a man always eager to learn and explore!.

I got to know his family well in the days after his death as I worked to help manage the media interest in the story as the NZ Army got him home to his family. His funeral was huge and it reflected his life. Packed with family, fitness, lots of sport, friends, hunting, the outdoors and a pursuit of adventure. His father Goodwin was a pioneer of the early helicopter deer catching days in Westland (a daredevil in his time) and his mother Mary was lovely, so strong and full of love for her son. Both were amazing in their ability to accept and forgive the cause of the accident.

As ANZAC day looms, I always remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. In Johnny's case it was a friendly bomb and a bad mistake, but he died on active duty and training so as to excel in his chosen profession of arms.

John McNutt is and will remain well remembered.

Other ANZAC Tributes and Yarns;

The Ted d'Augvergne "Bottle in the Hotel" story.

Who the Hell is Private David Nelson Wright?

6 comments:

  1. Yep, RIP Johnny.
    Thanks Langers.

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  2. Hello From America, I was the Apache Pilot that befriended Johnny in Kuwait, I took the picture of him sitting in the Apache, The Florida Army National Guard was sent to Kuwait to assist in Desert Spring and I was the Test Pilot assigned to Task Force Jaguar. Johnny and I met late one night in the laundry room and we hit it off the minute we shook hands. It was late that night and by sunrise we were trading jokes, martial art techniques and planning for him to come visit my Wife and I in Florida. We spent as much time fellowshipping as our duty allowed, I returned to the US a few weeks before he was killed, my fellow UH60 Blackhawk Brothers carried Johnny and the other injured back for lifsaving but alas God wanted Johnny guarding his Kingdom more than he wanted he to guard our mortal one. If anyone sees this please pass on to his Family my condolences, I am still in uniform but now stationed in Washington DC at our Main Command. I still carry his Aussie SAS patch on my kit bag and I'm sure his gear is adorned somewhere with our Unit Jaguar Patch, the 1-111TH Attack Helicopter Battalion which has since been disbanded. My military e-mail is michael.r.randall.mil@mail.mil, my personal e-mail is randall15606@gmail.com so if his family, or his vast circle of brothers are reading this pass this on to them. Johnny meant the world to me and I have thought of him every day since...may God Bless his Family...I certainly was blessed and richer from the moment we shook hands, he was and remains the epitome of a "Warrior" and he will never be forgotten by me...

    Sincerely,
    CW5 Michael Randall
    US Army National Guard Senior Apache Analyst
    National Guard Bureau
    Arlington, VA USA

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    Replies
    1. Michael, Thanks for your comments and memories on Johnny. I will pass on your details to his family. He was a good man and many of his mates think of him often and remember him on ANZAC day.

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    2. Much appreciateed to hear stories about him, miss him everyday just as much as the last.
      God bless

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  3. I worked with John. He has recently completed his training cycle with the NZSAS before taking his posting to Kuwait. A tragic accident that took away our colleague in the prime of his life. I communicate with him my email only the week of the accident where he expressed his excitement in rejoining his Squadron. He was a strong young officer with great potential, he has humble, strong and well respected by the lads.
    Like many other before him, and others to follow, he paid ultimate sacrifice for NZ.
    The maia hei toa, John, RIP

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  4. On this Remembrance Day, I think of you John and remember what a inspirational friend you were. Rest in peace, mate.

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