Rank and organization:   Private, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 2d Battalion,
9th Marines, 3d Marine Division.
Place and date:   Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands,
26 and 27 February 1945.
Entered service at:   Arkansas.
Birth:   18 February
1921, Tuscumbia, Ala.
Citation:   For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity
at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as automatic
rifleman serving with the 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division,
during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands,
26 and 27 February 1945. With his squad abruptly halted by intense fire
from enemy fortifications in the high rocky ridges and crags commanding
the line of advance, Pvt. Watson boldly rushed 1 pillbox and fired into
the embrasure with his weapon, keeping the enemy pinned down single-handedly
until he was in a position to hurl in a grenade, and then running to the
rear of the emplacement to destroy the retreating Japanese and enable his
platoon to take its objective. Again pinned down at the foot of a small
hill, he dauntlessly scaled the jagged incline under fierce mortar and
machinegun barrages and, with his assistant BAR man, charged the crest
of the hill, firing from his hip. Fighting furiously against Japanese troops
attacking with grenades and knee mortars from the reverse slope, he stood
fearlessly erect in his exposed position to cover the hostile entrenchments
and held the hill under savage fire for 15 minutes, killing 60 Japanese
before his ammunition was exhausted and his platoon was able to join him.
His courageous initiative and valiant fighting spirit against devastating
odds were directly responsible for the continued advance of his platoon,
and his inspiring leadership throughout this bitterly fought action reflects
the highest credit upon Pvt. Watson and the U.S. Naval Service.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)