William Roy Coplen Watt

First Lieutenant
Army of the United States
17 January 1947 - 29 February 1968
Sweetwater, Texas
Panel 42E Line 012

Silver Star

Combat Infantry

The database page for William Roy Coplen Watt

3 Feb 2005

Lt William Roy Coplen Watt was born in Sweetwater, Texas. He was a an All-American boy, attending school in Sweetwater using the last name of Coplen, which was his stepfather's name. He was a three-letterman on the football team at Sweetwater High School and held several school offices and was voted a favorite in his 1965 class. He attended DeVry Technical Institute in Chicago and then was drafted.

Upon entering the Army he reverted to his real name of Watt for legal reasons as he had not been adopted. After basic and AIT at Fort Hood, he was accepted for infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant he attended the Organizational Maintenance Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, did jungle training in Panama and then began his tour in Vietnam in December 1967.

He was a platoon leader and he was killed when his unit engaged a larger NVA force. His family reports 2LT Watt was shot to death by machine gun fire as he attempted to assist a wounded soldier. His unit was forced to withdraw and re-organize. 2LT Watt's body was recovered the next day when A/5/7 re-entered the area.

He is remembered by his community and by the Permian Basin Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Midland, Texas. May his sacrifice not be forgotten.

From a PBVVM representative,
Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762

13 Feb 2005

My brother died 37 years ago this month during Tet Feb 1968. This memorial is to help me find closure and peace of mind. I wonder. There is this quotation used in a 12 step program to find peace:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference".

I can not change my brother's death, I can only change the way I think about it. For a long time anger hurt less than sadness, but this left me exhausted. Denial worked for years, but this left me numb. My life has been affected by his death as it has affected other sisters and brothers of casualties. I am no different. I am through with negative emotions of anger, guilt, and remorse. I find comfort from my brother's love as he is my protector and hero even in death. He wrote in his will that he would be with me always and I know his spirit and energy is still here even in the present. Love never dies.

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

From his sister,
Nelda Coplen

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Four men from Alpha Company, 5/7th Cavalry, died on 29 Feb 1968:
  • 1LT William R. Watt, Sweetwater, TX
  • SP4 Michael E. Martin, Los Angeles, CA
  • PFC Richard J. Groat, Port Huron, MI
  • PFC Otis L. Nick, Myton, UT

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009