Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Watson (T-AKR-310)

1997–

George Watson -- born in 1915 in Birmingham, Ala. -- attended Colorado Agricultural & Mechanical College, graduating in 1942.  Enlisting in the U.S. Army on 1 September 1942, he served in the 2nd Battalion, 29th Quartermaster Regiment. 

On 8 March 1943, Watson was on board the Army-chartered Dutch steamer Jacob when she was attacked and hit by Japanese bombers near Porlock Harbor, New Guinea. When the ship was abandoned, Watson remained in the water assisting those who could not swim reach the safety of the life boats and saved several fellow soldiers. Weakened by his heroic efforts, however, he was pulled under by the suction of the sinking ship. His body was never recovered. 

Watson was originally awarded the Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross, but the award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor on 13 January 1997. 

(T-AKR-310: displacement 62,644; length 950'; beam 106'; draft 34'; speed 24 knots; complement 30 civilian and 5 active duty; class Watson

Watson (T-AKR-310) was laid down on 23 May 1996 at San Diego, Calif., by National Steel & Shipbuilding Company.; launched on 26 July 1997 and sponsored by Mrs. Gail Berry West, wife of former Secretary of the Army Togo D. West Jr.

Mrs. Gail Berry West, sponsor of Watson, breaks the traditional bottle of champagne across the ships' bow on 26 July 1997 to officially launch the vessel at the National Steel & Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif. In attendance is her husband, former Secretary of the Army Togo D. West Jr.; her daughter, Ms. Hilary West, Maid of Honor and Richard A. Vortmann, NASSCO President. (U.S. Department of Defense photo DN-ST-01-00408).
Mrs. Gail Berry West, sponsor of Watson, breaks the traditional bottle of champagne across the ships' bow on 26 July 1997 to officially launch the vessel at the National Steel & Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, Calif. In attendance is her husband, former Secretary of the Army Togo D. West Jr.; her daughter, Ms. Hilary West, Maid of Honor and Richard A. Vortmann, NASSCO President. (U.S. Department of Defense photo DN-ST-01-00408).

Watson entered non-commissioned U.S. Navy service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) with a primarily civilian crew on 23 June 1998. A non-combatant large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) vessel, Watson and other ships of her class are used to pre-position tanks, trucks, various wheeled vehicles and supplies needed to support an army heavy brigade. She is assigned to Afloat Prepositioning Ship Squadron Four.

Watson moored at Wharf Alpha, Naval Weapons Station, Joint Base Charleston, S.C., on 7 October 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo 141007-F-TK607-003, by Eric Sesit).
Watson moored at Wharf Alpha, Naval Weapons Station, Joint Base Charleston, S.C., on 7 October 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo 141007-F-TK607-003, by Eric Sesit).

Detailed history pending. 

Paul J. Marcello 

9 July 2016

Published: Mon Jul 11 10:33:44 EDT 2016