Former sailor shares generations-long family military legacy

Fairbanks, AK

Photo | John Boulette stands in uniform in 1947.

John Boulette is part of the third generation in his family to serve in the United States military.

He was inspired to serve, following in his father's footsteps. His father, Henry Boulette, was in the Calvary during World War I, but the war ended before he saw any action, John said. Henry returned to Massachusetts, where he was a founding member of a Legion post in the Worcester, Mass.-area. John's grandfather, Joseph Massier, also served during WWI.

John's uncle, also named Joseph Massier, was close to him in age and served as a machinist mate in the Navy during World War II. He was killed in action at age 19, and this also influenced John's decision to enlist.

"My uncle passed away in World War II, and that kind of upset me," Boulette said. "I tried to join up when I was 13, but I gave them the wrong age — had I known you had to be 18, I would have said 18 instead of 17. So they went and saw my father and that ended that."

In 1947, he enlisted in the Navy. He served with a general communications amphibious fleet. After he got out in 1950, he worked in the power plant industry for decades.

His brothers, Richard and Henry, also served. However, Richard received a medical discharge only three weeks into his service because of severe asthma, John said. Henry became a Seabee, did three tours in Vietnam and was injured twice, John said.

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