Jimmy Lee Watson

Chief Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
28 July 1946 - 28 January 1976
Lucama, North Carolina
Panel 44E Line 042

Army Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Jimmy L. Watson

The database page for Jimmy Lee Watson

5 Jul 2004


As I rode into battle my thoughts were of home,
Of the cool wet rain and the fields where I roamed,
Painting the house on that bright sunny day,
And of driving past that old railway archway.

I reach in my pocket and pull out the photo,
Through my whole body there shoots a warm glow,
The photo shows me with my girl and my kids,
Leaning back against the metal I close my eyelids.

I can smell her perfume, and hear my kids laugh,
I can see the wind blow stars and stripes on the staff,
My thoughts were of home where I should be,
Then comes a booming shout "Victor Charlie"!

Quickly departing from the Huey once more,
Time to forget the people back home I adore,
My "family" for now is the guys by my side,
Depending on each other and of soul confide.

Mark Shanks - 2003

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Betty Watson
03 Jan 2007

Still wearing his bracelet.

John Schrawder
1005 Market Street, Lewisburg, Pa. 17837

10 Mar 2007

Jimmy Lee Watson is my first cousin. His Mother waited for years in hopes of his return. I have spoken via phone and email with many that knew him while in Vietnam. Through those conversations, I have come to know that he was as fine a person during service as he was when we played marbles, softball and had dinner at his Mother's kitchen table. I know too from those conversations that Jimmy Lee loved what he did in protecting his country. I miss him and know that many people, other than myself, often think of him and the sacrfice he gave to his country. May we all never forget all of those that gave it all for us.

Betty Watson

25 Jun 2007

I have recently gotten his bracelet on my last trip to Washington D.C. I too will be wearing it in his honor.

Ed Bray

18 Oct 2007

Still wearing his bracelet.

Steven Lee Watson
CW4, US Army, Retired

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 13 March 1968 a UH-1B HUEY (hull number 67-17254) departed Phu Bai Airfield (Hue) enroute Camp Evans, some 27 miles to the northwest. Ten men were aboard the aircraft: At about 1830 the aircraft was brought down by enemy ground fire in Nam Giang village approximately 8 kilometers north-northeast of Camp Evans. None of the 10 men aboard the Huey were injured in the incident and all of them safely exited the aircraft. A decision was taken to split into two groupd of five men each with one group, led by 1LT Peda, striking out for Camp Evans while the other group remained with the helicopter to safeguard it. And so it was done.

The coastal area northeast of Camp Evans had a history of VC activity, and Nam Giang had an active VC militia headed by the village chief. He rallied his militia and they attacked the soldiers who remained with the helo. After a brisk exchange of fires, the US soldiers withdrew from the helo. As they did so, two soldiers were killed - Gubbins and Moore. The remaining three established a defensive position in the village cemetery but eventually were killed. Although the villagers buried Gubbins and Moore in a single grave more or less where they fell, the other three Americans were removed from the cemetery and buried in separate, but nearby, locations.

Meantime LT Peda and the four unidentified soldiers walked into Camp Evans at 2000 hours. Once the situation became clear, an immediate and intensive search and rescue operation was organized to locate the rest of the flight crew and passengers. However, the initial search failed to locate either the aircraft or the missing personnel.

Elements of the 1st Cavalry Division recovered two bodies (identified as SFC Eugene Gubbins and PFC Larry Moore) in a shallow grave on 28 March. Although search efforts continued for the other three men in and around the location where the two bodies were found, as well as between Camp Evans and the crash site, they were not found. When the formal SAR efforts were terminated WO Jimmy Watson, SGT Cleveland Evans, and SSG Steven W. Heitman were listed Missing in Action.

In early 1975 JCRC personnel revisited the site, and although they did recover material which positively identified the crash site as well as additional remains attributable to SFC Gubbins and PFC Moore they did not locate the other three men. Watson, Evans, and Heitman were continued in MIA status until their respective service Secretaries approved Presumptive Findings of death for them.

In 1997 a joint US-Vietnamese team again visited Nam Giang village, and this time the villagers cooperated with the searchers. Three former VC militiamen who participated in the 1968 fight still lived in the village and all three gave much the same story about how the five US servicemen who remained with the helo had died. Unfortunately, the area where the three men who died in the cemetery were buried had been repeatedly disturbed over the years through cultivation and the digging of irrigation ditches. As a result of time and changes, the three militiamen - two of whom had participated in the burials - could not locate the graves ... excavations in the areas where they were thought to be found no remains, personal equipment, or anything which could be associated with Watson, Evans, or Heitman. As of 30 May 2008 their remains have not been repatriated.

The surviving pilot, 1LT Robert C. Peda, was killed in action less than a month later, on 07 April 1968.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 5 Jul 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009