b. 07/06/1925 Seneca, South Carolina. d. 07/10/1952 Korea.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 07/10/1952 Korea.
Korean War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Watkins served as a Staff Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, Company I, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). He was awarded his medal posthumously for service in Korea, on October 7, 1952. His body was not recovered. He has other cenotaphs in multiple locales.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a guide of a rifle platoon of Company I, in action against enemy aggressor forces during the hours of darkness on the morning of 7 October 1952. With his platoon assigned the mission of retaking an outpost which had been overrun by the enemy earlier in the night, S/Sgt. Watkins skillfully led his unit in the assault up the designated hill. Although painfully wounded when a well-entrenched hostile force at the crest of the hill engaged the platoon with intense small-arms and grenade fire, he gallantly continued to lead his men. Obtaining an automatic rifle from 1 of the wounded men, he assisted in pinning down an enemy machinegun holding up the assault. When an enemy grenade landed among S/Sgt. Watkins and several other marines while they were moving forward through a trench on the hill crest, he immediately pushed his companions aside, placed himself in a position to shield them and picked up the deadly missile in an attempt to throw it outside the trench. Mortally wounded when the grenade exploded in his hand, S/Sgt. Watkins, by his great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, saved the lives of several of his comrades and contributed materially to the success of the mission. His extraordinary heroism, inspiring leadership, and resolute spirit of self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
BURIAL LOCATION: NATIONAL MEMORIAL OF THE PACIFIC, HONOLULU, HAWAII.
CENOTAPH AT WOLF STAKE CEMETERY, WEST UNION, SOUTH CAROLINA.
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