Don Gouin was born in 1929 in Central Falls, Rhode Island. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on August 12, 1947, and after completing radio operator training, he served at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, from 1948 to February 1952, and then at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, from February 1952 to May 1953, when he transferred to Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Sgt Gouin next served as a Field Radio Repair instructor at Fort Gordon, Georgia, from January 1954 to October 1955, during which time he served with the Military Assistance and Advisory Group in Pakistan from March to July 1955. He then attended the Advanced Television School in Los Angeles, California, before serving with the Army Pictorial Center in New York City from March 1956 to March 1958. His next assignment was to Kagnew Station in Asmara, Ethiopia, from June 1958 to February 1961, when he returned to the Army Pictorial Center. Sgt Gouin then served at Fort Monmouth from December 1961 to March 1967, and then deployed to Southeast Asia, where he served with the American Forces Radio and Television Service in Saigon, South Vietnam, from March to May 1967, followed by service as the Chief Engineer for the TV station in Hue, South Vietnam, where he served until being captured during the TET Offensive on February 5, 1968. Sgt Gouin was taken to North Vietnam later in 1968, and was held as a Prisoner of War for 1,856 days, being released during Operation Homecoming on March 5, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and then he remained at Fort Knox, serving at the U.S. Army Armor School until his retirement from the Army on May 31, 1974. Don Gouin died on July 15, 2009, and was buried at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Lima, Ohio.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
Master Sergeant Donat J. Gouin distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Chief Engineer with Detachment Number 5, American Forces Television Station, Hue, Republic of Vietnam, American Forces Radio-Television Network, Republic of Vietnam, Military Advisory Command, Republic of Vietnam, on 2 February 1968 during the Communist "Tet Offensive." At approximately 1900 hours on 2 February 1968 Detachment Number 5 was attacked by a superior numerically enemy force while detachment personnel were positioned inside their quarters at Number 6 Tran Duc Street, Hue. Without hesitancy and with total disregard to his personal safety then Sergeant First Class Donat J. Gouin, took a position outside the quarters where he faced part of the attacking enemy force alone. Exposing himself to deadly enemy fire he remained in that position throughout the 16-hour ordeal and single-handedly stopped all enemy attempts to attack and gain entry into said quarters from this otherwise exposed flank. He was continuously subjected to enemy grenade fire which stunned and deafened him, but never deterred his determination to stay in that position. His aggressiveness and initiative of action was instrumental not only in saving the lives of Detachment Number 5 personnel but was a decidingly important factor in deterring the enemy's attempts to overrun their position. His position was later overrun and he was held as a Prisoner of War until his release on 5 March 1973. Master Sergeant Gouin's heroic actions are in keeping with the highest tradition of the services and reflect great credit on himself and the United States Army.