The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*WATKINS, LEWIS G.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant,
U.S. Marine Corps, Company I, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place
and date: Korea, 7 October 1952. Entered service at: Seneca, S.C. Born.
6 June 1925, Seneca, S.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty while serving as a guide of a rifle platoon of Company I, in action against
enemy aggressor forces during the hours of darkness on the morning of 7 October 1952. With
his platoon assigned the mission of retaking an outpost which had been overrun by the
enemy earlier in the night, S/Sgt. Watkins skillfully led his unit in the assault up the
designated hill. Although painfully wounded when a well-entrenched hostile force at the
crest of the hill engaged the platoon with intense small-arms and grenade fire, he
gallantly continued to lead his men. Obtaining an automatic rifle from 1 of the wounded
men, he assisted in pinning down an enemy machinegun holding up the assault. When an enemy
grenade landed among S/Sgt. Watkins and several other marines while they were moving
forward through a trench on the hill crest, he immediately pushed his companions aside,
placed himself in a position to shield them and picked up the deadly missile in an attempt
to throw it outside the trench. Mortally wounded when the grenade exploded in his hand,
S/Sgt. Watkins, by his great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, saved the
lives of several of his comrades and contributed materially to the success of the mission.
His extraordinary heroism, inspiring leadership, and resolute spirit of self-sacrifice
reflect the highest credit upon himself and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S.
Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.