Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Charles Joseph Watters

Details
  • Rank: Major
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 173d Support Battalion,
    173d Airborne Brigade
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 19, 1967
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Hill 875, near Dak To, Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Chaplain Watters distinguished himself during an assault in the vicinity of Dak To. Chaplain Watters was moving with one of the companies when it engaged a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged and the casualties mounted, Chaplain Watters, with complete disregard for his safety, rushed forward to the line of contact. Unarmed and completely exposed, he moved among, as well as in front of, the advancing troops, giving aid to the wounded, assisting in their evacuation, giving words of encouragement, and administering the last rites to the dying. When a wounded paratrooper was standing in shock in front of the assaulting forces, Chaplain Watters ran forward, picked the man up on his shoulders, and carried him to safety. As the troopers battled to the first enemy entrenchment, Chaplain Watters ran through the intense enemy fire to the front of the entrenchment to aid a fallen comrade. A short time later, the paratroopers pulled back in preparation for a second assault, Chaplain Watters exposed himself to both friendly and enemy fire between the two forces in order to recover two wounded soldiers. Later, when the battalion was forced to pull back into a perimeter, Chaplain Watters noticed that several wounded soldiers were lying outside the newly formed perimeter. Without hesitation and ignoring attempts to restrain him, Chaplain Watters left the perimeter three times in the face of small-arms, automatic-weapons, and mortar fire to carry and to assist the injured troopers to safety. Satisfied that all of the wounded were inside the perimeter, he began aiding the medics[--applying field bandages to open wounds, obtaining and serving food and water, giving spiritual and mental strength and comfort. During his ministering, he moved out to the perimeter from position to position redistributing food and water and tending to the needs of his men. Chaplain Watters was giving aid to the wounded when he himself was mortally wounded. Chaplain Watters' unyielding perseverance and selfless devotion to his comrades was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

Medal of Honor Recipient Charles J. Watters
Medal of Honor Recipient Charles J. Watters
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Fort Dix, Mercer County, New Jersey
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: November 4, 1969

    The White House, presented by Vice Pres. Spiro T. Agnew to his family

  • Born: January 17, 1927, Jersey City, Hudson County, NJ, United States
  • Died: November 19, 1967, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (2-E-186-A), Arlington, VA, United States
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