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Greatest Generation Paul Edward Fournier

After hearing stories of war and practicing for air raids as a child, this
veteran dedicated four years to his beloved country.


Paul Edward Fournier

Palmilla Senior Living  Albuquerque, New Mexico

Paul Fournier's uncle served during the Battle of the Bulge and returned telling stories of how he was posted behind machine guns for up to 36 hours at a time. Paul remembers practicing air raid drills and black outs during the evenings when he was a young boy in this era. 

Paul enlisted in the Navy on March 17th of 1952. After boot camp and additional training in radio school, he served on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, as they sailed from places in the Mediterranean to South America until the ship was decommissioned. 

Then, Paul went to California where he boarded the oil tanker, USS Cimarron and set sail to Korea and Japan during the Korean War. There he helped communicate messages in Morse code to allies while refueling military vessels off the southern coast of Korea. During one trip, an unmarked Korean ship opened fire on their tanker. The USS Cimarron’s captain ordered his men to return fire. The enemy ship fled never to be seen again. The U.S. ship left the waters of Korea and sailed south to make port in Hai Phong, Vietnam. During his stay, he was an interpreter between the American and French Foreign Legion that was stationed there. Paul recalls hearing gunfire fights on certain nights as the soon-to-be Viet Cong were at war with the French Foreign Legion, a foreshadowing to a war that would later draw the U.S. back into conflict in the region. 

On May 1956, Radioman 1st Class Paul Edward Fournier from Holyoke, Massachusetts, left the service. During this same time, he met the love of his life at a polka dance show at Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts. He had met up with a best buddy at the dance and two beautiful ladies were sitting with his friend; they were all friends that had gone to school together. However, Paul’s wife was his friend’s date and her friend was his. Despite this, Paul got his wife’s phone number that night. He called her the next day and started a love story only they know. The couple married on October 12, 1956, much to the concern of Paul’s father who felt it was too fast. But that didn’t stop them from pursing their love for each other.