John W. Dutko was born in Dilltown, Pennsylvania on October 24, 1916. He enlisted in the United States Army on February 21, 1941 at age 24. His enlistment record shows that he never received an education after grammar school, and was working as a farm hand when he volunteered for the Army.
Dutko’s records also indicate that he was initially in the Medical Corps, but it wasn’t in medicine that he wound up serving during World War II. He was a foot soldier, an automatic rifleman armed with an M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle in the 3rd Infantry Division‘s 30th Infantry Regiment.
The motto of the 30th Infantry is “Our country, not ourselves.” On May 23, 1944, then Private First Class Dutko demonstrated exactly what that means.