Chester Bouvia was born on October 3, 1902, in Savanna, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 16, 1923, and after completing basic training he was assigned as a Fireman aboard the battleship USS Texas (BB-35) from February 1923 to October 1925. His next assignment was aboard the tug USS Ontario (AT-13) from November 1925 to January 14, 1927, when he was honorably discharged from the Navy. F2c Bouvia reenlisted in the Navy on April 13, 1927, and then served at the Navy Yard at Norfolk, Virginia, before attending Submarine School at New London, Connecticut, from August 1927 to February 1928. His next assignment was aboard the submarine USS R-10 (SS-87) from May 1928 to February 1930, followed by service aboard the submarine USS R-1 (SS-78) from March 1930 until he left active duty and joined the U.S. Naval Reserve on April 12, 1931. MM2c Bouvia returned to active duty on July 7, 1931, and served aboard the battleship USS Wyoming (BB-32) from August 1931 to February 1932, and then aboard the battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) from February 1932 to January 1934. His next assignment was at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, from February to June 1934, followed by service aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) from June 1934 to July 1936. MM1c Bouvia served aboard the destroyer USS Shaw (DD-373) from September 1936 to July 1938, and then aboard the heavy cruiser USS Chester (CA-27) from September 1938 until he left active duty and joined the Naval Reserve on September 5, 1939. He was recalled to active duty on June 28, 1940, and served at Submarine Base New London, Connecticut, from June to September 1940. MM1c Bouvia served aboard the submarine USS R-6 (SS-83) from September 1940 to October 1941, followed by service with General Motors Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio, from October to December 1941. He then transferred to the Electric Boat Company at Groton, Connecticut, for the fitting out of the submarine USS Grunion (SS-216) in December 1941, remaining aboard after her commissioning in April 1942. MM1c Bouvia was killed in action during a confrontation with the armed Japanese freighter Kano Maru on July 30, 1942. On August 22, 2007, a search team organized by the three sons of CDR Mannert Abele (the Captain of the Grunion when she was sunk) used a remotely operated vehicle to find a sunken vessel 3,000 feet down in the Bering Sea north of Kiska Island at the tip of the Aleutian Islands. On October 1, 2008, the U.S. Navy announced that the sunken vessel is the World War II submarine USS Grunion (SS-216).
His Navy Commendation Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious conduct as a member of the crew of the U.S.S. GRUNION which destroyed three enemy destroyers while engaged in a war patrol in enemy controlled waters. Despite severe and persistent anti-submarine measures resulting from these three successful attacks, the GRUNION was brought safely through the counter attacks and continued an aggressive war patrol. As a member of the crew of the GRUNION, your performance of duty was an important and material contribution to the prosecution of this war.