Born 1932 in Central California, Starns served in the U.S. Navy from March 1950 to October 1953. Most of that service was aboard the U.S.S. Doyle, a Minesweeper (the Navy lost 4 ships during the Korean War, 3 of them were Minesweepers). The Doyle was deployed off the coast of Korea during the Korean War and served in many minesweeping and support roles. Near the end of his service in the Navy, Gene was asked to participate in the filming of _"Caine Mutiny, The (1954)_. He appears in probably the most poignant scene in the movie, when Captain DeVriess is leaving the ship after being relieved by Captain Queeg, DeVriess is presented with a wristwatch by the crew of the Caine. Starns is the Bosun's Mate who 'Pipes the Captain Ashore', a longstanding Naval tradition in which the Bosun's Mate alerts the parties on shore to expect the Captain's boat. He whistles a distinctive series of pipe tunes which are carefully, and artfully, incorporated into the musical score of the film. He left the Navy in 1953 to return to college and become an educator with San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento, California; eventually earning his Masters Degree in Elementary Education. He is now retired and resides in Oregon where he continues his efforts to educate children of all ages.