William H. Soucie was born in Portland, Connecticut, on October 10, 1909.1 William grew up living during a period of transition in the New England region as textile mills were common in years prior, yet were beginning to move south due to cheaper labor and ease of access to raw materials.2 Soucie's first decision to join the military may be linked to the downturn in the economy following the Great Depression and the difficulty New England mills had in recovering.3 William Soucie enlisted in the Army on June 21, 1935 for a four-year term of service.4 He served in the Coastal Artillery. Soucie met and married Massachusetts native Gladys O. Soucie, who is listed here on the 1940 census.5
At this time, the Department of War implemented plans drafted by General Douglas MacArthur during his tenure as Chief of Staff. These plans called for a larger army with greater capabilities made possible with the allocation of more federal funds.6 Upon completion of his first four-year enlistment, Soucie returned to civilian life as a mill hand in western Massachusetts on August 21, 1939.7
A mere twenty-four days after war was declared following Pearl Harbor, Soucie joined the initial flood of patriotic American volunteers. Soucie served in the US Army Air Force from 1941 until 1947, earning the rank of Corporal. At the end of this stint, he took less than a month break before joining the newly-formed Department of the Air Force. Soucie fought in the Air Force during the Korean War, but the details of his service are unknown. Over the course of his time there, he earned a commission and was able to retire at the rank of First Lieutenant with over twenty years of service.8 In 1946, Gladys gave birth to their only son Thaddeus, as seen by here in this Massachusetts Birth Index.9
William H. Soucie was a career military man who gave over twenty years of his life to the United States of America. His service was an integral part of his life. This can be seen through his active participation in the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He and his wife took active leadership roles in the organization and its ladies’ auxiliary.10 Soucie’s only son, Thaddeus J. Soucie, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the US Air Force. Thaddeus graduated from basic training in 1966 and he went on to train in the use of radar.11 William Soucie retired to Florida in 1967.12 For the remainder of his life, William H. Soucie lived in Port Richey, Florida, a small gulfside town north of Tampa Bay, where he was active in St. Michaels Catholic Church, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.13 William Soucie passed away on December 11, 1996 in Port Richey, Florida, and was survived by his wife, son, and grandchildren.14 William Soucie is remembered by his gravestone located in the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida, MD, site 61.15
1 “1940 United States Census,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed March, 22, 2017), entry for William H. Soucie, Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts.
2 "New England Textile History," Tuckerman Journal, Tuckerman & Co, February 1, 2015, accessed April 05, 2017. https://www.tuckerman.co/blogs/tuckerman-journal/37606339-new-england-textile-history.
3 "Everyday Life 1929-1941." In Historic Events for Students: The Great Depression, edited by Richard C. Hanes and Sharon M. Hanes, 305-329, vol. 1, (Detroit: Gale, 2002), U.S. History in Context (accessed March 26, 2017).
4 “Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File, 1850-2010,” database online, (Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, March 21, 2017), entry for William H. Soucie.
5 “1940 United States Census,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed March, 22, 2017), entry for William H. Soucie, Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts.
7 “1940 United States Census,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com:accessed March, 22, 2017), entry for William H. Soucie, Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts.
8 "Air Force Register. Volume I: Active Lists, database, NewsBank (Advertisement. United States Air Force Retired List, January 07, 1964, 147. Name, Service Number, Rank, DOR. : accessed March 21, 2017), Air Force Service Number William H. Soucie, AO1289982.
9 "Obituary William H. Soucie 1909-1996," Tampa Tribune (Hudson), December 13, 1996, Metropolitan ed., Pasco sec. accessed March 26, 2017; “Index to Births in Massachusetts 1946-1950”. Familysearch.org (http://familysearch.org: accessed March 22, 2017), entry for Thaddeus Soucie, Massachussetts.
10 Soucie, Gladys O. "Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 941," McHenry Plaindealer, (McHenry, Illinois), 1957. Accessed March 27, 2017. Details social life of the Soucie family.
11 "Thaddeus J. Soucie," Xenia Daily Gazette (Xenia, Ohio), September 16, 1966. Accessed March 27, 2017. Son Graduates from Air force Basic Training, Newspapers.com
12 "Obituary William H. Soucie (1909-1996)," Tampa Tribune (Hudson), December 13, 1996, Metropolitan ed., Pasco sec. Accessed March 26, 2017.
13 "Obituary William H. Soucie (1909-1996)," Tampa Tribune (Hudson), December 13, 1996, Metropolitan ed., Pasco sec. Accessed March 26, 2017.
14 "Obituary William H. Soucie (1909-1996)," Tampa Bay Times (Hudson), December 13, 1996, Metropolitan ed., Pasco sec. Accessed March 26, 2017.
15 “U.S. Veterans' Gravesites, ca.1775-2006,” Database, Ancestry.com accessed August 11, 2017, http://www.ancestry.com: entry for William H Soucie;
National Cemetery Administration, "William H. Soucie," US Department of Veterans Affairs, accessed September 18, 2018, https://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/NGLMap?ID=6147527
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