Hometown Hero: Wilton Augustine

Hometown Hero: Wilton Augustine
Augustine on U.S.S. Topeka (Source: Augustine family)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It was in the waning days of World War 2 that Wilton Augustine turned 17. He’d watched war movies in the theater and knew he didn’t want to join the Army.

"I didn't want to go walk in that mud," remembers Augustine. "I watched these poor soldiers walk in that mud. Running behind the tank or something like that, in the mud. I told myself wait a minute, I can do better than that."

So he signed up for the Navy, serving with 1300 other sailors on board a light cruiser, the U.S.S. Topeka.

“By the time I got to Okinawa, I was there about a week or two, I turned 18. That’s when the war ended, about a few days later. Actually when the war ended on the ship, there weren’t too many remarks. Especially, a seaman like I was, there was no big to-do about it.”

After the war, Augustine returned to his new bride, Betty. They’ve been married 75 years this week.

“You know, we never hollered at each other. The children can never say they heard mom and dad fuss. If we had a little disagreement, we’d pout. And I gave in first.”

Augustine eventually started up businesses in southwest Louisiana including several Piggly Wiggly grocery stores and Big A Pawn Shops. The Augustines will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary with a reception for family and friends. It will be held Friday, November 15 at 3 p.m. at Stone Bridge Assisted Living in Sulphur.

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