The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*WATKINS, TRAVIS E.
Rank and organization: Master Sergeant,
U.S. Army, Company H, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division Place and date:
Near Yongsan, Korea, 31 August through 3 September 1950. Entered service at: Texas.
Birth: Waldo, Ark. 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 machinegun 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.