Listen to his interview!
James H. Watson was born and raised in Burlingame California, right outside of San Francisco. Attending San Mateo College in hopes of making it to Berkeley, Watson put his education on hold to serve our nation during the Second World War. His story is one of dedication, good will, and honored success.
Joining the V7 program, Watson intended seek the fast-track of becoming an officer of the US Navy. With such a unique program, this endeavor only lasted 90 days! Commissioned in May of 1941, Watson would later begin working as part of a team of destroyer escorts, which protected American ships against the threat of enemy submarines or battleships.
In 1945, Watson shifted gears, working for Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT's) by January of 1945, which took him from Maui to many islands and waters across the pacific. Even after the Atomic Bomb was dropped over Japan, Watson and his team's work continued to protect American forces still stationed throughout the many territories. Without his work, the paths of American ships would have been perilous, for the underwater threats of the Japanese would have posed great risks for American forces going ashore.
Throughout his time as a UDT officer, Watson recounts several fascinating stories, some of which are chilling, while others are absolutely heart-warming. In traveling through the islands of the Tinian and Saipan, Watson recalls helplessly watching as civilians throw themselves to their deaths, fearing that the Japanese propaganda about American "conquerors" to be true. But when he was able to, Watson stepped beyond his call of duty to assist those in need. In rescuing a little Japanese girl who was stranded in the ocean, victimized from the destruction of war, Watson exceeded his obligations for the protection of innocent life. This truly goes to show that while the horrors of war may be unbearable at times, it can certainly bring out the greatest of character in our servicemen and women.
After leaving the Navy, Watson went on to finish his education at Berkeley, start a family, and build a successful sales career with several Fortune 500 companies. Having lived a life of service to his nation, and commitment to his family, Mr. James H. Watson has truly exemplified the American ideal.
We sincerely thank Mr. Watson for his service.