PVT George Watson

PVT George Watson

Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, USA
Death 8 Mar 1943 (aged 27–28)
Papua New Guinea
Memorial Site* Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Plot Tablets of the Missing--Buried at Sea
Memorial ID 10120674 · View Source
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World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. George Watson joined the Army on September 1, 1942 as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 29th Quartermaster Regiment. On March 8, 1943 Watson was on-board a ship near New Guinea when it was attacked by Japanese bombers. The ship was badly damaged and everyone was ordered overboard. Rather than swimming to safety on one of the life boats, Watson remained in the water assisting others who were unable to swim reach safety. It is believed he drowned when he was unable to get clear of the turbulence when the ship went under the water. His body was never recovered. Shortly after his death he was awarded Distinguished Service Cross, becoming the first African-American to receive that honor in World War II. He was also awarded the Purple Heart. In 1997, after the reports of his actions were reevaluated, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President William Clinton. The citation reads: "For extraordinary heroism in action on 8 March 1943. Private Watson was on board a ship which was attacked and hit by enemy bombers. When the ship was abandoned, Private Watson, instead of seeking to save himself, remained in the water assisting several soldiers who could not swim to reach the safety of the raft. This heroic action, which subsequently cost him his life, resulted in the saving of several of his comrades. Weakened by his exertions, he was dragged down by the suction of the sinking ship and was drowned. Private Watson's extraordinarily valorous actions, daring leadership, and self-sacrificing devotion to his fellow-man exemplify the finest traditions of military service."

Bio by: Anne Cady


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 13 Dec 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 10120674
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PVT George Watson (1915–8 Mar 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 10120674, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by Find A Grave .