Hometown Heroes - Wilton Augustine

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 4:12 AM CST
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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 theatre and knew he didn’t want to join the Army.

“I didn’t want to go walk in that mud. 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.

“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 several businesses in SWLA including several Piggly Wiggly grocery stores and Big A Pawn Shops.