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USNS Watkins (T-AKR 315)

- Military Sealift Command -

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USNS WATKINS is the sixth WATSON - class large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship (LMSR) and the first ship in the Navy named after Army Master Sgt. Travis E. Watkins.

General Characteristics:Awarded: May 23, 1997
Keel laid: August 24, 1999
Launched: July 28, 2000
Delivered: March 2, 2001
Builder: National Steel and Shipbuilding, San Diego, CA
Propulsion system: two GE Marine LM gas turbines
Propellers: two
Length: 951.4 feet (290 meters)
Beam: 106 feet (32.3 meters)
Draft: 34.1 feet (10.4 meters)
Displacement: approx. 62,970 tons full load
Speed: 24 knots
Aircraft: helicopter landing area only
Armament: none
Capacity: 393,000 sq. ft. (more than 900 vehicles including tanks and trucks)
Crew: 26 civilian crew (up to 45); up to 50 active duty
Homeport: Diego Garcia


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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USNS WATKINS. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.


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About the Ship's Name:

USNS WATKINS is named in honor of Army Master Sgt. Travis E. Watkins, (1920-1950), who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his gallant leadership when an overwhelming enemy force broke through and isolated 30 men from his unit in Korea from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, 1950.

Citation:

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.


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