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First Name: Travis

Last Name: Watkins

Birthplace: Waldo, AR, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: TX
Middle Name: Earl

Date of Birth: 05 September 1920

Date of Death: 03 September 1950

Rank: Master Sergeant

Years Served: 1939-1950
Travis Earl Watkins

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Travis E. Watkins
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Travis Earl Watkins was born on 5 September 1920 at Waldo, AR. He was a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Watkins was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on 31 August through 3 September 1950.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company H, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division

Place and date: Near Yongsan, Korea, 31 August through 3 September 1950

Entered service at: Texas

G.O. No.: 9, 16 February 1951


M/Sgt. Watkins distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. When an overwhelming enemy force broke through and isolated 30 men of his unit, he took command, established a perimeter defense and directed action which repelled continuous, fanatical enemy assaults. With his group completely surrounded and cut off, he moved from foxhole to foxhole exposing himself to enemy fire, giving instructions and offering encouragement to his men. Later when the need for ammunition and grenades became critical he shot 2 enemy soldiers 50 yards outside the perimeter and went out alone for their ammunition and weapons. As he picked up their weapons he was attacked by 3 others and wounded. Returning their fire he killed all 3 and gathering up the weapons of the 5 enemy dead returned to his amazed comrades. During a later assault, 6 enemy soldiers gained a defiladed spot and began to throw grenades into the perimeter making it untenable. Realizing the desperate situation and disregarding his wound he rose from his foxhole to engage them with rifle fire. Although immediately hit by a burst from an enemy machine gun he continued to fire until he had killed the grenade throwers. With this threat eliminated he collapsed and despite being paralyzed from the waist down, encouraged his men to hold on. He refused all food, saving it for his comrades, and when it became apparent that help would not arrive in time to hold the position ordered his men to escape to friendly lines. Refusing evacuation as his hopeless condition would burden his comrades, he remained in his position and cheerfully wished them luck. Through his aggressive leadership and intrepid actions, this small force destroyed nearly 500 of the enemy before abandoning their position. M/Sgt. Watkins' sustained personal bravery and noble self-sacrifice reflect the highest glory upon himself and is in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.

Other Medals

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Watkins was awarded the Purple Heart.


USNS Watkins (T-AKR-315) is one of Military Sealift Command's nineteen Large, Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-off Ships and is part of the 33 ships in the Prepositioning Program. She is a Watson-class vehicle cargo ship. Laid down on 24 August 1999 and launched on 28 July 2000, Watkins was put into service in the Pacific Ocean on 2 March 2001.

She was named for Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins, a Medal of Honor recipient.

Death and Burial

Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins was killed in action on 3 September 1950. He is buried at Gladewater Memorial Park in Gladewater, Upshur County, TX.

Honoree ID: 1251   Created by: MHOH




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