Gaouette grew up in San Diego, and graduated from the University of California, Davis in 1981. He entered the Navy under the Submarine Strategic Weapons program and was commissioned at Officer Candidate School in April 1982. He is a qualified submarine officer and served as communicator in USS Gudgeon (SS 567) and combat systems officer in USS Lapon (SSN 661).
Gaouette transferred to Surface Warfare in 1987. He served as navigator and damage control assistant in USS Arthur W. Radford (DD 968), combat systems officer in USS Fletcher (DD 992), commissioning combat systems officer in USS Port Royal (CG 73) and executive officer in USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60).
Gaouette commanded USS Oldendorf (DD 972) from 2001 through 2003. Following Oldendorf’s decommissioning, he and his crew moved to Fletcher as part of the Navy’s Sea Swap initiative. Gaouette also commanded USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) serving as sea combat commander for the Eisenhower Strike Group during its 2006 Middle East deployment as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2006, Bunker Hill received the Spokane Trophy for combat systems excellence in the Pacific Fleet. Both Oldendorf and Bunker Hill were awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" for two consecutive years under his command.
Ashore, Gaouette has served as East Team chief and executive assistant to the director of Operations and Logistics (J3/J4), United States Transportation Command and held several positions on the Navy staff.
Gaouette is a graduate of the Air War College, where he earned a concurrent master’s degree in Public Administration from Auburn University. In 2003, he was awarded the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Award for inspirational leadership in recognition of the hard work by the crew of Oldendorf. He is the recipient of various personal decorations and unit awards.