Vice Admiral Eugene P. Wilkinson is a native of Long Beach, California. Following graduation from San Diego State College in 1938 and two years teaching chemistry and mathematics there, he received his commission in December 1940.
Admiral Wilkinson's first tour of duty was aboard the heavy cruiser USS LOUISVILLE (CA 28). After a year, he entered the Naval Submarine School at Groton, Connecticut, graduating in March 1942.
Following Submarine School, he served in USS R-10 (SS 87) for one month and then reported to USS BLACKFISH (SS 221) as a member of the commissioning crew. After a year in BLACKFISH, he helped commission USS DARTER (SS 227) and served on board for 18 months. He participated in eight war patrols in World War II, earning the Silver Star and the Navy Unit Commendation.
Admiral Wilkinson next served as Executive Officer and Navigator in USS MEHADEN (SS 377), USS RATON (SS 270), and USS CUSK (SS 348). While in CUSK, the submarine became the first to fire guided missiles. From April 1948 to April 1950, Admiral Wilkinson completed assignments at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago as an associate engineer; and, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, as Chief of the Operations Branch and Bureau of Ships Representative.
He then successively served as the Commanding Officer of USS VOLODOR (SS 490), USS SEA ROBIN (SS 407) and USS WAHOO (SS 238). In August 1953, Admiral Wilkinson was assigned to USS NAUTILUS (SSN 571), the first nuclear-powered ship, to be its first Commanding Officer. For his service in NAUTILUS, he received the Legion of Merit.
After attending the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Admiral Wilkinson was assigned duty as Commander, Submarine Division 102 in Groton in 1958. In September 1959, he became the first commanding officer of the first nuclear-powered surface ship, the guided missile cruiser USS LONG BEACH (CGN 9).
Selected for flag rank in May 1963, Admiral Wilkinson was assigned as director of the Submarine Warfare Division for the Chief of Naval Operations. On November 23, 1966, he assumed duties as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Forces in Japan. After earning the Distinguished Service Medal for his service in Japan, Admiral Wilkinson assumed Command of Submarine Flotilla Two on June 6, 1969.
He was promoted to Vice Admiral shortly before becoming Commander of the Atlantic Submarine Force on February 12, 1970.
In addition to the Silver Star and Legion of Merit medals and the Navy Unit Commendation, Vice Admiral Wilkinson has been awarded the Joint Service Commendation medal, the second order of the Sacred Treasure, Japan, and numerous campaign and service medals from World War II.
Vice Admiral Wilkinson was married to the former Janice Edith Thull of San Diego, California. They have four children, Dennis Eugene, Stephen James, Marian Lynn, and Rodney David.