TROUP, TX - Gladewater native, Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins, was posthumously awarded the Texas Medal of Honor by Governor Gregg Abbott on Monday at the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin.
A veteran of two wars, Watkins was awarded a bronze star for his actions in World War II, before returning to active duty during the Korean war.
It was his heroic actions there that earned him the Medal of Honor.
Watkins took command of his unit of 30 men.
Under siege, Watkins and his men fought hard. When ammunition started running low he left cover to take ammo from enemy soldiers. While doing so he was injured, but he was successful.
After that, the soldiers were attacked by grenades. The Master Sergeant took a risk, leaving cover once again to fight off the men with the grenades. He was shot, but continued to fire. Later on he collapsed, paralyzed from the waist down but he made it back to safety.
After his injury Watkins started refusing his food so his men would have more for themselves. The siege had been going on for days at that point and Watkins decided he had enough.
Making yet another sacrifice for the safety of his men he sent them back to the American front line, knowing he would slow them down, Watkins remained behind.
He died shortly after they left.
During the siege Watkins and his band of men killed about 500 enemy fighters.
Watkins was recognized for his brave actions during the Korean Conflict. He was nominated for the award by Representative Jay Dean, who attended Monday's ceremony.
The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.
This is the second Medal of Honor for Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins. The first was a Congressional Medal of Honor presented to his wife by President Harry Truman just months after his death.
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