Poulin, Lawrence, WT3c

Deceased
 
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 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Petty Officer Third Class
Last Primary NEC
WT-0000-Water Tender
Last Rating/NEC Group
Water Tender
Primary Unit
1945-1945, WT-0000, USS Cleveland (CL-55)
Service Years
1937 - 1945
WT-Water Tender
One Hash Mark

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Michigan
Michigan
Year of Birth
1921
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Poulin, Lawrence (Larry), WT3c.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Cheboygan, Mich.
Last Address
Traverse City, Michigan.

Date of Passing
Apr 25, 2015
 
Location of Interment
Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens - Traverse City, Michigan
Wall/Plot Coordinates
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 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin Honorable Discharge Emblem (WWII)


 Unofficial Badges 

US Navy Honorable Discharge Order of the Golden Dragon Blue Star


 Military Association Memberships
Post 7731, Little Finger PostPost 114Northeastern Michigan ChapterChapter 38
  1946, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 7731, Little Finger Post (Executive Secretary) (Lake Leelanau, Michigan) - Chap. Page
  1946, American Veterans (AMVETS), Post 114 (Recorder) (Elk Rapids, Michigan) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  1946, American Ex-POW Association, Northeastern Michigan Chapter (Supply Officer) (Spruce, Michigan) - Chap. Page
  1946, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 38 (Membership Director) (Traverse City, Michigan) [Verified] - Chap. Page


 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1939, Recruit Training (Great Lakes, IL)
 Duty Stations/ Advancement Schools
Army National Guard (ARNG)School Assignments - StaffUSS Canopus (AS-9)US Navy
Prisoner of WarUSS Missouri (BB-63)USS Cleveland (CL-55)
  1937-1939, Army National Guard (ARNG)
  1939-1939, WT-0000, (FA) Fireman Apprenticeship School
  1939-1942, WT-0000, USS Canopus (AS-9)
  1942-1942, MTB Squadrons, Philippine Sea Frontier, Commander, Philippine Sea Frontier (COMPHILSEAFRON)
  1942-1945, WT-0000, Prisoner of War
  1945-1945, WT-0000, USS Missouri (BB-63)
  1945-1945, WT-0000, USS Cleveland (CL-55)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Philippine Islands Campaign (1941-42)/Battle of Bataan
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Philippine Islands Campaign (1941-42)
 Military Association Memberships
Post 7731, Little Finger PostPost 114Northeastern Michigan ChapterChapter 38
  1946, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 7731, Little Finger Post (Executive Secretary) (Lake Leelanau, Michigan) - Chap. Page
  1946, American Veterans (AMVETS), Post 114 (Recorder) (Elk Rapids, Michigan) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  1946, American Ex-POW Association, Northeastern Michigan Chapter (Supply Officer) (Spruce, Michigan) - Chap. Page
  1946, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 38 (Membership Director) (Traverse City, Michigan) [Verified] - Chap. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on PO3 Poulin's US Navy Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE NAVY.
Information for this profile was taken from an article by Rick Coatess on WWII veteran and POW Larry Poulin.

WHY JOIN THE NAVY?

Larry Poulin was born in Cheboygan, Michigan, in a home that was full of violence.

"My parents were drunk all the time and beat the crap out of my brother
Lawrence Poulin (Larry), WT3c - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Navy.
Larry Poulin poses with some of his medals
and me almost every day," said Poulin. "The State eventually took us away and put us in a foster home. My first foster parents were not any better. They were criminals and ran a bootlegging operation during Prohibition and they beat us as well. Eventually we were taken in by foster parents in Traverse City."

At the age of 16, Poulin joined the National Guard and when he turned 18, after graduating from high school, he joined the Navy.

"I figured based on the Navy having limited combat action in WWI that would be the case in WWII. Boy, was I wrong," said Poulin. "We'd had more than 30 vessels sunk by the Japanese and so many of us in the Navy were moved to the front lines, myself included."

That frontline duty ended up leading to his eventual capture by the Japanese and held for three and a half years.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
In 1939 when Larry Poulin turned 18, he enlisted in the Navy, figuring he would see less action on a boat versus being on the front lines.

"I was wrong," said Poulin. "The Japanese were sinking a lot of our ships. So there were more guys in the Navy than boats, and they started sending us sailors to the front lines."
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH MADE A LASTING IMPACT ON YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY?
Poulin found himself fighting on the front lines on various Pacific Islands in 1942. Eventually he was captured and became part of the infamous Bataan Death March.

Poulin was transferred to the mainland in Japan where he worked in Shinagawa, a POW slave camp. Poulin spent the next three and half
Lawrence Poulin (Larry), WT3c - If you participated in any military operations, including combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, please describe those which made a lasting impact on you and, if life-changing, in what way?
Shinagawa, a POW slave camp
years in a Japanese POW camp near a remote harbor where he unloaded supplies from freight trains.

"We were just far away enough from Tokyo that we avoided the bombing raids," said Poulin. "So I survived three and half years working everyday, sometimes 12 to 14 hours a day. I weighed 145 pounds when I went into the military and the day I returned stateside I weighed 82 pounds."

So how did Poulin survive as a POW? "It wasn't easy because if you got sick and couldn't work they just killed you," said Poulin. "I was sick all the time as were others but we just toughed our way through it."

"We were only served three bowls of rice a day, along with some hot tea," said Poulin. "But we outsmarted them, we learned to steal from them, and on occasion we would get something more substantial to eat."

Poulin remained a POW until August 1945 and the surrender of Japanese in September. Lawrence was imprisoned for at least 1,227 days, one of the war's longest duration of captivity recorded.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Lawrence Poulin (Larry), WT3c - Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which was your least favorite?
Battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945
"I was given the opportunity to come right back, but I chose to stay and was aboard the Battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945 when General MacArthur signed the paperwork accepting the Japanese surrender," said Poulin. "That was the happiest day of my life."

Poulin would eventually receive several medals for his service. In addition to the Purple Heart and the POW medals, Poulin was among the first to receive the Bronze Star. He received his Bronze Star with "V" in person from President Harry Truman.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE MILITARY SERVICE, DESCRIBE ANY MEMORIES YOU STILL REFLECT BACK ON TO THIS DAY.
He was captured and became part of the infamous Bataan Death March that took place on April 9, 1942 as 76,000 Allied POWs (American and Filipino) were forced to walk 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water toward a new POW camp. It resulted in nearly half the American POWs dying.

"It was the worst day of my life," said Poulin. "If you were too sick or too weak to walk they just killed you on the spot and left you there. I watched hundreds of my fellow soldiers murdered right in front of me. Some were shot to death; others were beheaded."
WHAT PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER?
Lawrence Poulin received the following awards and medals for his service before and during the Second World War as a Serviceman and Prisoner of War. Most were awarded after his release from a Japanese prison camp in August 1945.

Bronze Star with "V" (valor, combat distinguishing device) 1942 (1945)
Purple Heart - 1945 (in addition to wounds, both hands and fingers were broken while a POW)
Combat Action Ribbon - 1942 (1945)
Navy Presidential Unit Citation - 1945
Army Presidential Unit Citation - 1945 (then known as the Distinguished Unit Citation)
Prisoner of War Medal - 1942 to 1945
Navy Good Conduct Medal - 1943
American Defense Service Medal - 1939
American Defense Service Medal with "FLEET" clasp, USS Canopus - 1941
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal - 1942 to 1945
World War II Victory Medal - 1945
Philippine Defense Medal - 1942 (1945)
Philippine Liberation Medal - 1942 (1945)
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation - 1942 (1945)
Philippine Independence Medal - 1945 (awarded in 1946).
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR OTHER MEMORABILIA, WHICH ONE IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
Lawrence Poulin (Larry), WT3c - Of all the medals, awards, formal presentations and qualification badges you received, or other memorabilia, which one is the most meaningful to you and why?
POW and Bronze Star medals
There are two. The Prisoner of War Medal and the Bronze Star with Combat "V".

Prisoner of War Medal / Awarded for actions during the World War II

Fireman First Class Lawrence Everett Poulin (NSN: 3113926), United States Navy, was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on 6 May 1942, and was held as a Prisoner of War until returned to U.S. Military control at the end of hostilities in August 1945.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Action Date: May 6, 1942 - August 1945
Service: Navy
Rank: Fireman First Class
Division: Prisoner of War (Philippine Islands & Japan)

His Bronze Star was presented to him, personally, by President Harry Truman.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
The WWII veteran and former POW has an array of medals including a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, which was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman. The walls of his home are lined with honors and accommodations from past presidents and governors.
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
Captured with the rank of Fireman First Class. With time in grade, as a prisoner for 3 1/2 years, he is listed here as a Petty Officer 3/c, WT3/c. However, some sources show Lawrence Poulin was discharged with the rank of Petty Officer, WT1/c, Water Tender (a machinist rating).

Upon returning to Traverse City, Poulin landed a job with the Parsons Corporation where he worked as a machinist on helicopter blades and various parts used on the Apollo spacecraft missions.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
Lawrence Poulin (Larry), WT3c - What military associations are you a member of, if any? What specific benefits do you derive from your memberships?
ADBC, American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 7731, Little Finger Post, Lake Leelanau, Michigan.

American Veterans (AMVETS), Post 114, Elk Rapids, Michigan.

American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor, Inc. (members include units of force of the Asitic Fleet, Philippine Archipelago, Wake Island, Mariana Islands, Midway Island and Dutch East Indies).
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
Lawrence Poulin went to work for Parsons Corporation for 25 years, where he worked on helicopter blades and various parts used on the Apollo spacecraft missions. Eventually his health deteriorated as a result of his POW days.

"I just collapsed one day," said Poulin. "Plus after having had my fingers and hands broken while I was POW I was struggling."

He had to take early retirement and accept military disability.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE NAVY?
Larry was a proud U.S. Navy Veteran of WWII and a member of the VFW, AMVETS and the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor, Inc.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
Lawrence Poulin (Larry), WT3c - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
The above details are a Remembrance Profile for Lawrence Everett "Larry" Poulin, 93, who died Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Birchwood Nursing Center in Traverse City, Michigan. Burial was at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens with Military Honors.

DS 1/2/18

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