Eugene F. Cloutier
USS West Virginia
Eugene F. Cloutier was born in 1920 in Superior, Wisconsin. Dates of service in U.S. Navy: 1937-1946. He was on the USS West Virginia on December 7, 1941. In December 1943, he married Beverly J. Wagner, who was in the WAVES in Washington, DC. She was the daughter of G. Harold Wagner, then state treasurer of Pennsylvania. I have no idea about Eugene Cloutier's rank in 1941. When he left the Navy in 1946, he was a chief bosun's mate. After the war, he went to college under the GI bill; and after college, he worked as a mechanical engineer in the textile and steel industries. He passed away in 1968, leaving his wife and three children. He is buried in Freeland, PA.
He disliked talking about the war. Once he recalled that he had
nothing to fight with during the initial attack on Pearl Harbor. He said some
potatoes blew onto the West Virginia's deck from an explosion, and he
threw potatoes (and anything else he could find) at the attacking Japanese
airplanes. When the ship went down, he swam under the burning oil on the
water and climbed up the anchor chain of the USS Tennessee. For a period
of time after the war, he occasionally would bolt awake in the middle of the
night, looking for a machine gun. He lost four of his best friends on
the West Virginia, and he thought about them a lot throughout his
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