Richard McCutcheon was born on December 27, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 13, 1941, and completed basic training at NTS Norfolk, Virginia, in March 1941. Seaman McCutcheon next attended Submarine School at Submarine Base New London Connecticut from April to June 1941, followed by service aboard the submarine USS O-2 (SS-63) from June to August 1941. He attended Elementary Torpedo School at New London from August to December 1941, and then transferred back aboard USS O-2 from December 1941 to March 1942. TM3c McCutcheon joined the crew of the USS Grunion (SS-216) during her fitting out in March 1942, and remained aboard after her commissioning in April 1942. He was killed in action aboard the Grunion during a confrontation with the armed Japanese freighter Kano Maru on July 30, 1942. On August 22, 2007, a search team organized by the three sons of CDR Mannert Abele (the Captain of the Grunion when she was sunk) used a remotely operated vehicle to find a sunken vessel 3,000 feet down in the Bering Sea north of Kiska Island at the tip of the Aleutian Islands. On October 1, 2008, the U.S. Navy announced that the sunken vessel is the World War II submarine USS Grunion (SS-216).
His Navy Commendation Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious conduct as a member of the crew of the U.S.S. GRUNION which destroyed three enemy destroyers while engaged in a war patrol in enemy controlled waters. Despite severe and persistent anti-submarine measures resulting from these three successful attacks, the GRUNION was brought safely through the counter attacks and continued an aggressive war patrol. As a member of the crew of the GRUNION, your performance of duty was an important and material contribution to the prosecution of this war.