Eugene McGurl was born on February 8, 1917, in Belmont, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps for Navigator training on February 11, 1941, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his navigator wings on December 6, 1941. His first assignment was as a B-25 Mitchell navigator with the 95th Bomb Squadron of the 17th Bomb Group at Pendleton Army Airfield, Oregon, from December 1941 until he was selected for the Doolittle Mission in February 1942. Lt McGurl was the navigator on the 5th B-25 to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942, and after bombing targets in Tokyo the crew bailed out over China when their aircraft ran out of fuel. He remained in the China-Burma-India Theater after the raid, and served as a B-25 navigator with the 11th Bomb Squadron of the 341st Bomb Group in India from May 1942 until he was killed in action after a combat mission on June 3, 1942. His remains have never been returned to the United States.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland on April 18, 1942. Lieutenant McGurl volunteered for this mission knowing full well that the chances of survival were extremely remote, and executed his part in it with great skill and daring. This achievement reflects high credit on Lieutenant McGurl and the military service.