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First Name: James

Last Name: Watkins

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: David

Date of Birth: 07 March 1927

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served:
James David Watkins

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1949

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


James David Watkins

Admiral, U.S. Navy

James David Watkins was born on 7 March 1927.

Naval Career

Watkins attended Webb School of California in Claremont, CA; he subsequently graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949 and received his Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1958.

Admiral Watkins spent 37 years in the Navy, serving on destroyers, cruisers and submarines, and shore assignments in personnel management.

On 18 September 1979, Watkins was promoted to the four-star rank of Admiral and began service as Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) where he served until 1981. He then served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) during 1981-1982. His final assignment was Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) from 1982-1986.

Admiral Watkins retired from the Navy in 1986.

Military Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (3 Awards)
Bronze Star Medal with Combat "Valor" Device
China Service Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Campaign Stars
United Nations Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal

He has also received military medals and awards from Brazil, Korea, Italy, France, Spain, Japan, Pakistan and Sweden.

Military Honors

In March 2001, Watkins was awarded the Navy's Distinguished Public Award by the Secretary of the Navy.

On 21 April 2005, the Naval Postgraduate Mechanical Engineering Building was renamed Watkins Hall, after Admiral James D. Watkins.

Watkins is also a member of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Hall of Fame.

Civilian Awards

In 1983, Watkins was inducted as a Knight of Malta.

In 1991 he was awarded the AAES Chairs' Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies.


Admiral Watkins is the father of six children including Katherine Watkins Coopersmith, RNCS; successful internet entrepreneur, Edward Francis Watkins; a nuclear engineer, Susan Watkins; and Catholic priest Monsignor James D. Watkins, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Northwest Washington, DC.

[For information on his non-military service, see Wikipedia.]

Honoree ID: 673   Created by: MHOH




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