This Blog site has included number posts about pigeons and pigeon-related information from the Army’s pigeon program. These animals were both amazing and heroic having been responsible for saving hundreds of lives in wartime by “getting their message through.” Equally important were the soldiers that were a part of the program. The soldiers were the breeders, cared for, and trained to pigeons. Truly the program could not have been as successful without the efforts of the birds and the soldier pigeoneers. This blog will introduce COL Clifford A. Poutre.
COL Poutre was born in Hudson Falls, New York on 24 October 1904 as the only child of Hattie Irish Poutre and Clifford G. Poutre.
After receiving his BS degree from Lafayette College in 1927 COL Poutre enlisted in the United States Army 10 January 1929. Soon after enlistment, Poutre went to Hawaii and spent seven and one half years there. Poutre went through all the ranks from Private First Class to Sergeant and in 1936 was appointed Staff Sergeant, in 1940 he became Technical Sergeant and in January 1941 he was appointed Master Sergeant. Poutre was commissioned as First Lieutenant in the Reserve Corps in late 1941.
Fort Monmouth Signal
According to the 1941 Daily Long Branch Record, while in college, Poutre was a prominent track man and ran in the Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships. He was also a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, secretary of the Sandy Hook Pigeon Racing Club; he also held memberships in the International Federation of Homing Pigeon Fanciers of America, the Central Jersey Racing Pigeon Combine, and the N.J. Homing Pigeon Concourse Association.
He was called to active duty with the Pigeon Breeding and Training Section at Fort Monmouth by a War Department radiogram on 7 August 1936. Prior to joining the Army, Poutre had made a hobby of pigeons and chickens. Once assigned to the Pigeon Program at Fort Monmouth, he confined his interest entirely to pigeons as stated by a 1941 Monmouth Message article, so that by the time of the article (as stated in the article), he was one of the most outstanding experts on pigeons in the world. While with the Pigeon Program, Poutre won hundreds of awards at pigeon races and championships and his work was publicized in national magazines and newspapers.
Poutre served with distinction as a member of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff in Occupied Japan following World War II. In 1957, Poutre, became the deputy commanding officer, U. S. Army Signal Supply Agency (he released the last pigeon in combat for the U. S. Army). He also served as the Tobyhanna Army Depot commander from 1 July 1957 to 31 December 1959.
COL Poutre releases a pigeon
After 31 years of service, Poutre retired as a colonel. He taught math at East Stroudsburg University from 1961 to 1972. He passed away 11 April 2008 at the age of 103. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Smalley Poutre. Information to prepare this biography is from a biographical sketch for COL Poutre published in the Daily Long Branch Record, 13 August 1941, and from an obituary published in the Tobyhanna Army depot newspaper The Tobyhanna Reporter (6 May 2008).
This post was written by Floyd Hertweck.