Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Watson, Wilson D.

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Private, USMCR, (1922-1994).

Private Wilson D. Watson, USMCR, (1921-1994)


Wilson Douglas Watson was born on 18 February 1921 in Tuscumbia, Arkansas. He worked on his father's farm before enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve in August 1942. After recruit training at San Diego, California he fought at Bougainville in November 1943 and on Guam in the Summer of 1944.


During the deadly February-March 1945 battle for Iwo Jima, Watson was an automatic rifleman with the Second Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division. On 26 and 27 February 1945, when his squad was twice halted by intense Japanese fire, Watson courageously and single-handedly destroyed a hostile pillbox and later charged uphill against enemy defenses. During the latter action, while fully exposed to Japanese fire, he used his Browning Automatic Rifle to kill sixty of the enemy, thus enabling his platoon to reach his position. On 2 March, Private Watson was seriously wounded and evacuated from Iwo Jima. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life," during the 26-27 February engagements, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.


Watson was presented the Medal by President Harry S. Truman during White House ceremonies on 5 October 1945. In the Fall of 1946, after discharge from the Marines, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and ultimately attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. Wilson D. Watson died on 19 December 1994 and is buried at Russell Cemetery, Ozone, Arkansas.


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