Retired July 1, 1972. Died Dec. 29, 1998.
Brigadier General Paul C. Watson is director for personnel, J-1, the Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. In this capacity he provides manpower and personnel planning assistance to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and exercises staff supervision of personnel and manpower actions.
General Watson was born in 1918, in Macon, Ga., and graduated from high school in Columbus, Ga., in 1935. He was employed by the Central of Georgia Railroad for seven years. He volunteered for the Army Air Corps in 1943, received his commission as second lieutenant and his pilot wings through the aviation cadet program at Stuttgart, Ark., in December 1943, and then attended B-24 transition training.
During World War II in November 1944, he was sent to China where he flew 400 combat hours in the B-24 Liberator operating from bases in China against Japanese shipping in the South China Seas. His crew was responsible for sinking five Japanese ships.
He was released from active military service in October 1945, attended Auburn University, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical administration in 1947. He received a regular commission and returned to active military service in August 1947.
General Watson served in the Strategic Air Command for the next ten years, flying B-29, B-50, and B-47 aircraft. He was aircraft commander of a select crew in the 20th Bombardment Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., for three years. He commanded the 20th Bombardment Squadron in the 2d Bombardment Group at Hunter Air Force Base, Ga., from March 1955 to October 1957.
In November 1957 General Watson was transferred to Washington, D.C., and assigned to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, in Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He was one of the first officers assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency when it was established in 1961 and was given the responsibility for coordinating the worldwide Indications System. In August 1963 he was selected for the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, at Fort McNair, D.C., and while attending the Industrial College, he did graduate work in The George Washington University and received a master in business administration degree in June 1964.
General Watson next was assigned as base commander and later vice commander of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, an F-100 unit, at Wethersfield, England. In February 1967 he assumed command of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing in Goldsboro, N.C., which was equipped with F-4D Phantom aircraft.
In January 1968 General Watson was sent to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, to command the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing which was equipped with the Phantom fighter. It was the first fighter wing in Southeast Asia to mount an external gun on the Phantom and shoot down enemy aircraft. For this accomplishment the men of the 366th became known as the "Gun Fighters." In addition to commanding the "Gun Fighters," he was responsible for 35 tenant organizations and several million dollars in new construction at Da Nang. Since the base was under constant threat of rocket attacks from the Viet Cong, General Watson instituted a rocket patrol with light aircraft which significantly reduced the enemy's success with Soviet-made rockets. He flew 188 combat missions in the Phantom, 82 of these were over North Vietnam. He served with his son, Captain Richard W. Watson, for eight months. His son was killed in action near Quang Nagai on June 3, 1969.
General Watson returned to the United States in January 1969 and was assigned to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as chief of the Pacific Division, J-3, the Joint Staff. In May 1969 he became deputy director for operations, J-3, where he supervised one team of military personnel who operate the National Military Command Center on a 24-hour basis for the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was appointed director of personnel, J-1, in July 1970.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak leaf clusters; Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal; Presidential Unit Citation Emblem; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with oak leaf cluster; Philippine Liberation Ribbon; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, 1st class; and Republic of Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, 2d class.
General Watson's hometown is Columbus, Ga.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective Aug. 1, 1969, with date of rank June 14, 1969.