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First Name: Wilson

Last Name: Watson

Birthplace: Tuscumbia, AL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Little Rock, AR
Middle Name: Douglas

Date of Birth: 16 February 1921

Date of Death: 19 December 1994

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 1942-1966
Wilson Douglas Watson

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Wilson Douglas Watson

Private, U.S. Marine Corps
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Private Wilson Douglas Watson (16 February 1921 - 19 December 1994) was a U.S. Marine who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions on Iwo Jima during World War II. After World War II, Watson continued his military service in the U.S. Army and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Wilson Douglas Watson was born on 18 February 1921, in Tuscumbia, AL. Before his enlistment in Little Rock, AR, on 6 August 1942, he worked on his father's farm and completed seven years of grade school. Watson received his basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA, and was deployed overseas on 24 January 1943.

Serving as an automatic rifleman with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division during the bitter fighting on Iwo Jima, Watson earned the Medal of Honor for heroism during 26-27 February 1945, when he single-handedly killed more than 60 Japanese and enabled his pinned-down platoon to continue the advance. In the attack, he was shot seven times. He was evacuated from Iwo Jima after he suffered a gunshot wound in the neck on 2 March 1945. He previously saw action at Bougainville and Guam.

Medal of Honor

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.

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.

Private Watson was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on 5 October 1945 in a ceremony at the White House.

Following his discharge from the Marine Corps, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private on 30 September 1946 working as a mess hall cook. He eventually reached the rank of Staff Sergeant and finally retired from the military in 1966.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Death and Burial

Wilson Douglas Watson died on 19 December 1994 in Russellville, AR. He is buried at Russell Cemetery in Ozone, Johnson County, AR.

Honoree ID: 1703   Created by: MHOH




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