Veterans and Family Remember East Texas Medal of Honor Winner
Military veterans and others gathered in Gladewater Saturday to honor the memory of Army Master Sgt. Travis E. Watkins, an east Texan who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for conspicuous bravery and gallantry in the Korean War.
After Sgt. Watkins was killed in action, the Army honored him by naming housing complexes, a supply ship and the local American Legion Post in his honor. Despite the recognition, over time, people forgot Watkins and his story.
Watkins enlisted in the United States Army in 1939 from Gladewater. He was awarded the Bronze Star during World War II for action during the Guadalcanal campaign.
But his heroic story ended deep in Yongsan, Korea, in September 1951, when an overwhelming enemy force broke through and surrounded him and 30 men in his unit. He died of his wounds while helping his men escape and survive the assault.
James Gill, President of the Korean War Veterans Association says “For a Medal of Honor receiver to be forgotten is just not right.”
To correct that, former Prisoners of War, other Korea veterans, national military leaders, local political leaders gathered to honor Sgt. Watkins. Three vintage military planes staged a flyover.
Watkins’ grave is now marked with a new headstone, an American flag and a light that shines down from dusk to dawn. Gill says Watkins is no longer forgotten, and he hopes that light will never fade.
Read the full story of Sgt. Watkins’ heroism at: