Charlie Hutton's 10 years of active duty service in the U.S. Army and six years in the U.S. Army Reserve helped prepare him for his role as industrial hygiene technician at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and gave him the opportunity to explore his interests. At 17 years old, Hutton enlisted in the Army and began his basic training at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. Upon completion, he attended advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, graduating as a preventive medicine specialist.
After his first enlistment, Hutton expressed a desire to serve overseas. He saw an opportunity when he enlisted for a second term to go Hanau, Germany. During his service in Germany in 2004, Hutton was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where his role was supporting more than 70,000 U.S. and Allied Forces troops in and around Baghdad. Serving as a preventive medicine specialist, he was responsible for identifying and evaluating potential health hazards in order to prevent disease, illness and injury. This included environmental sampling and documenting the soldiers' exposure to burn pits, hazardous waste and other environmental factors.
After 10 years of active duty in various duty stations, Hutton joined the Army Reserve to pursue a bachelor's degree in anthropology, afterwards applying for an industrial hygiene technician position at St. Jude. "In my current role, many of the skills I learned during my active service are skills that I use every day," Hutton said. "A lot of the experience and certifications I acquired in the Army were necessary for the job at St. Jude, where environmental safety standards are important."
Hutton helps ensure that appropriate air quality and safety standards are met at St. Jude. In addition, Hutton also plays a role in patient care, by monitoring air quality in patient care areas, protecting patients from airborne infections and mold.
Hutton is currently serving overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a medical intelligence noncommissioned officer. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to work at St. Jude and for the experience that the military has provided me," he said. "My job in the Army has been contributing toward the goal of saving lives, and I'm proud of the opportunity to help St. Jude do the same."