Eugene Tinnin was born on April 11, 1929, in Houston, Texas. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on April 11, 1946, and completed basic training at NTC San Diego, California, in July 1946. His first assignment was as a mess cook at Reception Station Treasure Island, California, from July to August 1946, followed by service as a guard at Fleet Activity Yokosuka, Japan, from September 1946 to January 1947. He served as a fire control striker aboard the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-136) from January to May 1947, and then as a deck hand aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) from May 1947 until he left active duty on February 11, 1948. Petty Officer Tinnin reenlisted in the Navy on April 5, 1949, and then served as an electronics technician aboard the heavy cruiser USS Macon (CA-132) from April 1949 to May 1950. He served as as an electronics technician aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) from June 1950 to July 1952, and during this time he deployed aboard her to Korea, where the ship and crew participated in shore bombardments during the Korean War from August 1950 to March 1951. Petty Officer Tinnin attended Underwater Demolition Team training with Class 009 (East Coast) at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from July to October 1952, and then served with UDT-4 at NAB Little Creek from October 1952 until he left active duty on April 9, 1954. He again reenlisted in the Navy on December 7, 1955, and served as an electronics technician aboard the destroyer escort radar picket ship USS Vandivier (DER-540) from December 1955 to December 1956. Petty Officer Tinnin attended Underwater Demolition Team training a second time with Class 017 at NAB Little Creek from January to April 1957, followed by service with UDT-21 at NAB Little Creek from April 1957 to October 1963. During this time he deployed aboard the dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-1) from September 1962 to March 1963. His next assignment was with SEAL Team TWO at NAB Little Creek from October 1963 to September 1966, followed by Officer Candidate School for Warrant Officer training at Naval Base Newport, Rhode Island, from September 1966 until he was appointed a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Navy on November 4, 1966. Warrant Officer Tinnin served with SEAL Team ONE at NAB Coronado, California, from November 1966 August 1968, and during this time he deployed with his Team to South Vietnam from February to June 1967, and from June 1968 until he was killed in action on August 20, 1968. Per his wishes, Warrant Officer Tinnin was buried at sea off the coast of Vietnam.
His 2nd Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 1 June 1968 to 20 August 1968. Warrant Officer TINNIN distinguished himself as JULIETT Assistant Platoon Commander by his sustained high performance of duty during combat patrols, ambushes, reconnaissances, intelligence missions and other clandestine combat operations ashore in heavily contested Viet Cong areas of the Mekong Delta. As a patrol leader in the field, Warrant Officer TINNIN made quick and sound decisions while in contact with the enemy which resulted in increased success for his squad. Through his leadership, courage, skill and determination under extremely adverse conditions, he significantly contributed to the goal of denying the Viet Cong free passage and a safe sanctuary in the Mekong Delta. Warrant Officer TINNIN participated in 19 combat missions which resulted in 13 Viet Cong killed in action, six Viet Cong captured and numerous enemy bunkers, sampans and structures destroyed. His valor against the enemy and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat "V" is authorized.